“I’m growing up”
Can Disney superstar Zac Efron escape his “High School Musical” past?
By Jeanne Dorin McDowell
Cover: Zac Efron
Even by Hollywood standards, Zac Efron has been blessed in the gene department. Sitting in a booth at Casa Vega, a Sherman Oaks, Calif., Mexican restaurant, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by his eggshell-blue eyes lined with long lashes and that toothpaste-white smile peering out over the fish taco he’s munching on. The gray knit beanie covering his head fails to prevent every waitress and female customer in this very dark joint from noticing the young star.
Still, as perhaps Efron understands better than most, life is not a Disney musical. “I’m at a transition point,” Efron concedes, taking a measure of his current position in the Hollywood constellations. “My taste is changing. I’m growing up.”
The change is not entirely obvious in his new movie, which is actually called “17 Again.” In it, Efron, 21 in real life, again plays the cute guy, and a basketball star at that, à la “High School Musical,” the monster hit movie series he starred in and which, he is quick to add, “is over” for him. The catch this time: A depressed 37-year-old with a failed marriage and career (Matthew Perry) gets to do over his life in the body of his 17-year-old self (Efron). Although still playing a teenager, Efron does it with his first hint of adult-style machismo.
“For a while, I felt lost in celebrity-land. I didn’t know how to handle it.”
“I saw it as a more complex part that could help me shift into adult material,” he says hopefully.
Whether a movie called “17 Again,” bound to be a hit with young girls, is the vehicle that will propel Efron from teen heartthrob to leading man remains to be seen. “The challenge for Zac Efron is to start to win over a general audience, including grown-ups, and to be taken seriously as an actor without losing his fan base of teens and tweens,” says movie critic Leonard Maltin. “We’re talking about the all-important transition from boyhood to manhood, and the term is not ‘leading boy’ but ‘leading man.’ Efron’s got to prove he has what it takes to fans and critics.”
In person, Efron, wearing a Beatles tee and worn jeans, is friendly, but super self-conscious about the interview. (In a second of exasperation, he blurts out, “I’m trying to figure out what you want me to say. What do you want me to say?”) Growing up in the public eye, Efron has grappled with his own ambivalence about celebrity and what often has seemed like a 24/7 surveillance of his private life.
“I didn’t want to be famous,” he explains. “I get sick of seeing my own face around.
Read the full article here: http://www.shineon-media.com/2009/04/10/zac-efron-i-didnt-want-to-be-famous-i-get-sick-of-seeing-my-own-face-around/
- - - - -
Song: Body Language
By: Jesse McCartney (Hollywood Records)
Listen to the full version here: