Interview w/ Zac from timeslive.co.za
Did you know about Mike and Dave's story when it broke?
No. It was originally introduced to me when I met with the director, Jake Szymanski, and he told me it was a true story. I couldn’t believe it – it seemed too far-fetched to be real. It was an hilarious concept and a fun character, so I was pretty much in from the get-go.
What is your take on Dave?
At this point, Dave is the younger brother and they have become pretty reliant on each other in a number of ways. Not only do they work together, but they live together and they’re in this kind of symbiotic relationship. Where we meet them in the movie, Mike is sort of reaching his, I guess, quarter-life crisis, and I’m kind of there observing my older brother losing his mind, and trying to reel him back in. I start saying, “Dude, hold it together man, it’s not the end of the world.”
Adam DeVine, who plays Mike, said he considered Dave to be the younger, more intelligent and better-looking brother. Any comment?
[laughs] Well, that’s nice of Adam. But Mike, really, is the instigator. He’s the ideas guy. He’s the life of the party. Dave is really just following in his footsteps. Mike’s the one with the balls-to-the-wall attitude, and Dave is his support unit, validating his ideas and helping him follow through with these crazy plans. Over the course of the movie, though, the roles kind of change in a way. But they clearly love each other.
How quickly did you find the chemistry with Adam?
We bonded pretty quickly, I think. I was a fan of Adam’s work for a long time, and have watched him on Workaholics for years. I knew he could play this type of role brilliantly. When we met, we got along instantly. As soon as we got to Hawaii, we were taking hikes and having fun, just really getting along.
Your path over the last few years seems to have been geared towards the unexpected and to new challenges. Was that by design?
You know, I’ve always really wanted to work with great directors and change things up and learn as I do these films. I was never really given the proper chance to study, so I look at my directors as teachers, and my process now is a lot different than it used to be. When I watch actors on screen, I have a feeling in my heart of who’s earned it and who hasn’t, and I think I respect the ones that have earned it more. I’m not saying I have earned it, but there are certain moves that people make that I think, “Oh, it’s cool they did that.” I hope I make more of those right moves rather than the wrong ones. [laughs]
Wrong moves are always learning experiences too. Pushing yourself is always a risk, but it’s a healthy risk to run.
I think so, and anytime I’ve ever been afraid of doing something – comedy for instance – as long as I’ve listened and been present, I think I’ve learned something. You’re supposed to be afraid. If everything was easy it would be lame. I definitely seek out projects that scare me to a certain degree. Stepping up and being in a comedy with three great comedians – and several other great comic actors – where I’m sort of the straight man was a little bit daunting, I think. But I’m really proud of what came out of it and I’m happy I did it, because it ended up being so much fun.
Esquire: How Zac Efron Has Evolved From Teen Idol to Full-Fledged Movie Star by Jake Kring-Schreifels
The Week: The undeniable sadness of Zac Efron, by Greg Cwik
The Ringer: Let Zac Efron Be Great by K. Austin Collins
The New Yorker: “Mike and Dave...” and the Death of the Hollywood Comedy by Richard Brody