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Sam meets Zac Efron and Adam Devine
Visiting a HOYTS screening
Junket but can't embed: Daily Telegraph, Nine.com.au: The Fix
News.com.au: Zac Efron talks about comedy, growing up
and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Neala Johnson
ZAC Efron is worried that his dodgy attempt at an Australian accent in his new movie Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates might have customs blocking his entry to the country when he flies in midweek.
“Hopefully I didn’t screw up too bad. It’s a very difficult accent and I have a lot of respect for people that can do it well ... and for Australia. So I don’t want to mess it up,” he laughs.
“But for the sake of comedy I will give it my best shot.”
“This last year has been very fun,” says Efron. “I was looking to do dramas, then all of a sudden after Bad Neighbours came out people started calling me for comedies. It happened kind of all at once.
“It’s the last thing I expected, to be honest. I never dreamt in a million years I’d be working with Seth Rogen or Adam DeVine or Anna Kendrick ... So it’s all a bit surreal for me.”
“There’s this celebration of brotherly love going on right now, guys showing love for each other, that is very funny to me,” says Efron. “It’s honest and it’s real and ... it wasn’t cool to do that before, you had to be a tough guy. I don’t necessarily fit the tough guy mould; I fit the honest guy mould.”
Indeed, while DeVine plays Mike unhinged and Plaza’s Tatiana mercilessly riles him up, Efron’s Dave is the almost-sensible brother who strikes up a genuine chemistry with Kendrick’s Alice.
Despite their differences, Efron and DeVine, 32, (whose more cred route to comedy movie stardom involved sketch comedy and a show on US network Comedy Central) did some serious onset bonding.
“Our career paths have been polar opposite. The way that we go about things is so different that it was fun to be trapped on an island together and absorb each other’s experiences and learn from each other what’s important and what’s not important,” Efron says.
“Adam helped me shed a lot of weight and stigma. He’s a really fearless actor, so as long as I support him, he really runs away with it.”
Some of that stigma shedding happens right before our eyes in Mike and Dave, when Efron and the gang deliver his first big musical moment since High School Musical. Though reluctant when he first emerged from the Disney cocoon to do anything with echoes of HSM, Efron is now proud of his beginnings.
“It’s fun to know that is there and then move forward and change things up. A lot of people ask if it hurts ... only in the sense that if you let it get you down. And I don’t. When I walk into a room to meet a director, I’m me. And they see that.”
Plaza, who has made two movies with Efron (she co-starred in Dirty Grandpa), doesn’t find his comedy ascendancy surprising.
“His comedic timing is so perfect because he’s reacting truthfully, which is what makes him so funny,” Plaza says. “He can find the subtle jokes within scenes, which is hard to do, but he makes it look easy.”
So how far will Efron go for the sake of comedy?
“There’s not much I wouldn’t do,” he says. “If it’s just superfluous or gratuitous and I’ve done it before ... Sometimes people just make you do things and it kind of sucks. But lately I’ve been putting my foot down and making sure if I’m going to do something, it needs to be done.”
The bonus to finding his career niche? These days, all of Efron’s wild living happens on screen.
Off screen, he’s all business, healthy living and fitness — with a regimen to rival that of his Baywatch co-star Dwayne Johnson.
“That’s the great thing about working: there’s very little downtime. LA’s not a great space to be in when you’re young and an actor with free time,” Efron laughs.
Three years ago, all that free time had led the young actor to check into rehab.
“I needed to figure that out. But now that I’m 28, my priorities have shifted. I know what I want and I need now. And I know what I care about. I see potential in all this — it’s not just a pastime anymore or a fleeting thing; I can see it going on for a long time. And I’m very, very motivated.”
PopSugar Australia, Genevieve Rota
On the Tim Tams We Gave Them:
Adam DeVine: "Last time I was here I got drunk and someone gave me those and I ate, like, an entire packet. I didn't mean to!"
Zac Efron: "The first time I came to Australia, I woke up and I had them stuck to my face. I literally woke up and was like [sniffs] smells like chocolate [laughs]."
On Knowing Each Other Before the Movie:
AD: "We knew each other a little bit, we have some mutual friends and so we'd see other out and about and at basketball games — we're both basketball fans."
ZE: "Yeah, we definitely knew of each other, didn't know each other that well but I'd say we were friendly. Chummy. I was a big fan of Workaholics so I was, I guess a little starstruck every time we hung out. And he's never seen a single thing I've done [laughs]."
On Filming Mike and Dave:
ZE: "We didn't shoot conventionally at all."
AD: "Usually you shoot a couple of alternate lines and then you move on. But this movie had so many alternate takes, and we improvised so much, and our director Jake Szymanski sometimes would just not call cut and so you're kind of left there hanging. So you're just still talking . . . Still saying stuff . . . Still in the character, figuring it out. And he loved that because he could sort of see us dig ourselves out of the hole we were in."
ZE: "It was a really interesting experiment because typically you shoot, you do a few alts and then you cut. And that can be anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. We were doing terabytes."
AD: "Yeah, we were doing 30-minutes takes! There would be whole scenes in the movie that you'd watch back and go, 'I don't remember saying those words'."
ZE: "You have a lot more of those than I do [laughs]"
Mindfood, Michele Manelis
Why do you think weddings as a subject make for such ripe comedic material?
I think they’re funny because at one point or another you have to go to one. They just tend to come more and more often and every one of them is different so it’s very universal in that regard. There are magical moments and then some of the most outrageous stuff happens at weddings and it seems like you should make a movie about it. But also, I think people want to believe that they’re in the presence of true love. That’s a line from Wedding Crashers where Owen Wilson said that.
What do you like to do away from acting? You seem to be an outdoorsy kind of guy?
I think there’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie in me. I like to be out of my comfort zone, like backpacking and getting lost in the woods, elements that are really scary. A lot of people won’t do it but I grew up in a small town where that was normal. Our getaway was camping. But when I moved to LA I met people who had never slept in a tent. I’ve taken good friends of mine now, people from other countries that have never really been in the outdoors and spent time with them and it’s fun watching them experience it for the first time and do things that help people get over their fears.
I should hang out with you to get over some of my years.
Oh, for sure, I’ll get you over your fears. I like to be that person to push you to the limit. Yeah, it’s fun.
What do you look for in a companion? What’s important to you?
Somebody who is fun to talk to. Somebody that I can make laugh. Somebody that I can show new things to and somebody that shows me new things. Somebody that wants to find adventure and love life. True love is the recognition of its counterpart in another. That’s another line from Wedding Crashers.
‘Wedding Crashers’ had quite an effect on you. Is it difficult to find time for relationships?
It’s hard but I make time for sure. It’s definitely difficult but you find ways to do it, you definitely do.
What is the craziest thing you ever did for love?
I wrote a song for a girl once and performed it in front of a bunch of people. That was pretty nerve wracking but I think that was cool. That was probably the coolest thing.
I understand the real Mike and Dave were on set. What was that like?
Crazy. When they came to set we were really excited to meet the guys. It was a pretty fantastic story like these guys had the nerve to do what they did. It seems like it’s not real and so when we met them, when we got to finally talk to them I realised they are grounded and they’re not insane. They’re not crazy, they’re real guys. That being said, we were filming so we were very busy. They did want to party (laughs), they wanted to hang out. But we’re like, ‘It’s Tuesday and I have a 6:00 AM call time.’ But they were very nice. I guess we got a sense of who they really were but they’re great guys.
You’re a fashionable guy who attends lots of events, red carpets and parties. What is that process like for you? Is it a two minute decision or is a lot of thought involved in what you’ll wear? Is it fun, or is it something you dread?
For me, I get really nervous before the red carpet because it seems so posed and fake. For girls, if they like it I think that’s great, but if you’re a dude and don’t like it and you show up, I commend you (laughs). In the days of Frank Sinatra when the studios were all behind you and the pictures were turned into portraits, which are now posters that are iconic, it was made to make you a symbol of this facade and the red carpet was an elegant place to be. Now it’s just a lot of screaming and hand sanitizer (laughs).
After all these years you must be used to it by now?
The most fun on the red carpet is actually seeing the fans. The red carpet itself, that moment feels like you’re doing the ‘blue steel’ face. There’s no way around it, like what you do in your mirror face. What are you supposed to say? So it’s either that or you do like the George Clooney and never look at the cameras and you’re always like yes, Omigod (points to a fictional person in the crowd). Then you’re never making a real face and no-one gets a good picture but I haven’t decided what person I am yet. I don’t know what I want to do. It’s weird but I’m figuring it out. I hope I get to come to Australia, by the way. I’m really working on it (speaks with an Australian accent)
Especially with your Australian accent…
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I can say a few things in the accent. I can say ‘razor blades.’ It’s definitely the hardest accent to do.
I don’t know how often you can use the words ‘razor blades’ in a sentence. You’ll have to learn some practical words.
It’s that flat sounds that get me. Flat…
Now you’re sounding like a New Zealander!
They’re so different. They’re so different. Sorry. I love New Zealand accents too though (Laughter) Theyr’e a bit more flat sounding, yeah. I totally get what you’re saying now. It’s Fight of the Concords versus Rose Byrne. I totally get it. I hear that it’s like that.
Do you have a bucket list? Places you’d like to visit?
I’ve got a list. I don’t write it on my phone or anything but there’s a few more things I want to do in Peru. I want to see the whole world. I want to do everything so my list is really long. It’s just not written down anywhere.
How do you travel? Do you have to disguise yourself? Can you go and hike in the mountains without somebody recognising you at the top and wanting an autograph from you or taking your picture?
Yeah. There’s ways around it. If you’re hiking wear a bandanna or something like that but covering your face is becoming popular in every culture more and more.
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