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May 19th
04:10 pm
#WAYF trailer & sneak peak  

And yesterday's teaser:

Zac Efron has a case of Saturday Night Fever.

Nearly 40 years after John Travolta famously hit dance floors in the disco-tinged 1977 classic, Efron is another young man finding his way in the world through nightclubs as an aspiring DJ in We Are Your Friends, in theaters Aug. 28.

"We've found a really cool way to tell this story and see what it's like for someone following their heart and their dream," says Efron.

Using a backdrop of electronic dance music, writer/director Max Joseph (MTV's Catfish: The TV Show) casts Efron as Cole Carter, a 23-year-old with a posse of pals who wants to be music's next great record producer. He finds a mentor in James (Wes Bentley), an older DJ who has become jaded and complacent, though "Cole sees him as someone who's lived the life he wants to lead," says Joseph.

The relationship becomes a love triangle when Cole begins to fall for James' college-age girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). "It ends up getting pretty intense and dramatic at moments," Efron says.

That relationship, plus Cole getting caught between his friends and outgrowing them, turns his once-harmonic life into an emotional cacophony.

"No family is safe in a sense for him," Joseph says. "He must learn to navigate on his own as an individual, which is what we all have to learn to do to some degree."

Cole is a different character than Tony Manero, yet Efron acknowledges he definitely looked at Saturday Night Fever as a guide, with its story of a young man making sacrifices for his goals. And Joseph used the '70s film as a tonal influence for his first feature.

"There is a gritty, realistic, almost documentary style at times," the director says. "But when the music comes in, the film kind of lifts off and goes into this colorful, exciting world with fun visuals. It's almost like a musical at times."

Efron immersed himself in EDM, taking lessons from DJ Them Jeans (aka Jason Stewart) and learning to use intricate decks for performance scenes. He also worked with complicated music production software on-screen, "the element you see Cole working on most in the movie, and to this day, (the one) I understand the least," the actor says, laughing.

Cole regurgitates the material of high-profile DJs such as David Guetta and Diplo in order to find his own sound, Efron adds, "but what he starts to learn is listening and putting your voice into a song or track is what really gives it meaning."

EDM has cropped up as a major force in music at the same time young adults are struggling with what to do with their lives, Joseph says. So he saw We Are Your Friends as a chance to make a contemporary coming-of-age film.

"That genre has always stuck out to me and you can always infuse it with great energy as well as gravitas," Joseph says. "They can swing really high and really low, and generally reflect on what's going on culturally, too."

Efron and Joseph both connected on the importance of brotherhood and friendships in a young man's life, and in Cole's group, he's the wise, sensitive and introspective one of the bunch — made all the more impressive, at least for Joseph, because of Efron's charisma.

"What's great about Zac is he's a natural alpha in a way," the director says. "Your eyes go to him. He's magnetic and he's often the center of attention in all his films and also in real life."

But as Cole, "it's a much more internal, quieter performance, and people are really going to react to it in a positive way."

USA Today
11 11 comments Comment
laurenlipkinlip on May 19th, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC)
looks pretty good.
wonder how they will promote this movie.
Bee: Zac – Details - plaid - profilejeezbee on May 19th, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC)
The trailer is interesting and really seem to tackle that environment well. I also like what I see of Zac's acting in there; I hope it comes together as a fully formed performance.

That said, it's not entirely what I expected from the trailer (not talking about the movie itself) - I thought they would cut the trailer more upbeat and with a faster pacing; and have more music/party scenes in it. To make the movie look less like a real drama with some dark aspects but more like a "fun time."

The one thing I'm not sure about (and I've seen that echoed elsewhere) is the focus on the love triangle. It seems to be the most cliche aspect of the plot and also the least interesting to me.

hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on May 20th, 2015 03:05 am (UTC)
the trailer they showed on ellen has much better pacing.
Beejeezbee on May 20th, 2015 12:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they need to shorten it for theatrical play anyway. I wonder if they will release a redband trailer. We'll see.
kleth on May 19th, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC)
I'm probably not going to like this movie, but what the hell, it stars Zac Efron. I paid theater prices (admission plus refreshments) to see The Lucky One and At Any Price on the days they opened, so I guess I can do this one too. Especially since it seems to be the only Zac flick for 2015.

I was a little startled to learn that M&D is shooting in Hawaii. Not the setting I imagined for this kind of dumb-ass rom-com. But I suppose there will be some beach scenes, so that may explain Adam DeVine's concern about going shirtless with the Zacster.
kleth on May 19th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
Do I recall correctly, that the balcony scene was filmed at Zac's house, so we're seeing his neighborhood in the background? Looks like Brushfire country.
Bee: Zac - GQ - Balancing on Car 1jeezbee on May 19th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC)
No. Nothing in this movie itself was filming in his house.

I assume you mean the Xmas greeting they filmed on his balcony.
kleth on May 20th, 2015 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's probably it. I knew there was a balcony involved.
kleth on May 20th, 2015 07:31 pm (UTC)
"What's great about Zac is he's a natural alpha in a way," the director says. "Your eyes go to him. He's magnetic and he's often the center of attention in all his films and also in real life."

I'm dubious about this "alpha" business. The key words are probably "in a way." I haven't perceived Zac as an "alpha male." Sure, he's the center of attention wherever he goes due to celebrity and looks. But I always thought he was a little shy, not a real take-charge, follow me! kind of personality. The director's previous words, regarding the character Zac plays ("he's the wise, sensitive and introspective one of the bunch...") seem more appropriate. At least, I'd like to think so.
Aliciapop86 on May 21st, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
He is much more "alpha" than he shows publicly. I don't know Zac but from what I read and heard you shouldn't underestimate him.
kleth on May 21st, 2015 07:31 pm (UTC)
It may be a difference in definitions. To me, an "alpha male" will always show his traits publicly.