03.10.09 - As part of the Disney Dream Portrait Series, world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz transformed High School Musical stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens into dashing Prince Phillip and lovely Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. D23 paid a visit to the photo shoot and got the inside-scoop from the adorable couple!
D23: Did you ever think you would be portraying classic Disney characters from a classic Disney movie and a classic fairy tale?
Vanessa Hudgens: No, never, and it's such a beautiful thing you know. I think every girl wishes to be a princess, and I finally got to do it.
Zac Efron: I used to watch these movies all the time growing up, loving these films. So to play the prince…
VH: … and a handsome prince!
D23: Did you really feel part of the fantasy today?
ZE: Yes, as soon as I walked onto the set, I knew it was magic. I love Annie's interpretation of the flowers. I think she used the term brambles.
VH: Yeah, from the fairy tale.
ZE: It looks gorgeous. Annie showed us her inspiration.
D23: Prior to today had you seen some of the series that started two years ago? First with David Beckham and Beyoncé?
VH: Yeah, I saw it and thought it was so beautiful… gorgeous and so well portrayed.
D23: Vanessa, you're in pretty fast company here. Scarlett Johansson, Beyoncé, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Biel… How do you feel joining this line-up of stars?
VH: It's very exciting. I'm so glad to be part of the team. Like I said, I always wanted to be a princess.
ZE: And Prince Phillip's not a bad character to play. I kind of like him. He's a pretty big hero, and it's just before they had this great moment and they are kissing. There was a big adventure that this prince goes on… so it's kind of rough by the time he gets to this scene.
D23: David Beckham was the original character to portray Prince Phillip in the original series two years ago. Now, Zac, you are reprising the role. You both have sports connections. You have the sports connection from High School Musical.
ZE: (Laughing) Yeah, sure. That's so funny. (Vanessa laughs.) We're playing the same character.
VH: You are like the young David Beckham now.
ZE: Well, in theory he was actually fighting the dragon [in an earlier scene], I think. So I'm the older David Beckham.
D23: Because he was brandishing a sword in his photo. Today you are without sword. A kinder, gentler Prince Phillip…
ZE: I checked my sword at the door (laughs). No, if I had a sword in the photo it would look like I came in for a different reason.
D23: So, is this your first experience working with Annie Leibovitz?
ZE/VH: Yes! (at the same time).
D23: But obviously you know her work and have seen a lot of her work.
VH: Yeah, she's such an incredible photographer. I really admire what she's done, and I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with her.
ZE: She's been taking gorgeous pictures for her entire life. I can't believe I got to meet her… I was a fan walking in. I'm downplaying it.
D23: Zac, you mentioned you watched Disney films growing up, and Vanessa I'm sure you did too. Did you have a particularly favorite when you were younger?
VH: Mine was probably Aladdin.
ZE: I was going to say Aladdin.
VE: I love Jasmine, and the music was really great. It was a fun fairy tale… one of the classics.
D23: So, how was the overall the experience today?
VH: It was a lot of fun, it was great.
ZE: (Referring to the scene) I mean she woke up; there was a 50-50 chance she wouldn't wake up (both laughing).
VH: Yeah, you never know.
ZE: And I think we made it out OK.
Better version of the picture released by Disney. Clearly they photoshopped to fix the makeup artist's shit job: