Parade Magazine interview with Zac Efron
Zac Efron: ‘I’m On the Craziest Ride of My Life’
by Jeanne Wolf
Zac Efron sang and danced his way to success in the wildly popular High School Musical movies–not to mention Hairspray.
Now, he’s taking a serious turn in Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles, playing a high-school kid who lucks into a big break in Welles’ famous production of Julius Caesar. Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf found out why Efron was ready to take a gamble on a serious dramatic role.
Taking a chance.
“I had never done anything like this before. I was still reeling from everything that had happened to me, all the attention I was suddenly getting from High School Musical. I thought, ‘Maybe this time I’ve bitten off more than I can chew because I’m not singing and dancing. It’s all about acting. I knew people wouldn’t see it as a predictable next move in my career, but I’d like to be known for more than predictability.”
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Why the story felt familiar.
“I really connected with Rick — the way he kind of lucked into an opportunity to act, and thanks to Orson Welles, doors were opening for him. It kind of resembled my life experience growing up in the theater. In school, my whole life was focused on theater, especially musicals, which were a creative outlet. I had no clue that I’d end up in Hollywood. I’m still on the craziest ride of my life.”
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There’s no escape.
“We went to the Isle of Man, which is a fairly secluded place to do some filming. The idea of going to a fairly secluded place where I could kind of just leave all of the attention behind was really appealing. Richard Linklater was like, ‘You’re going to love it. There are no paparazzi.’ So we were in this old theater filming a scene and suddenly we heard clapping and cheering. It turned out there was a bunch of kids who were High School Musical fans and they had found me. So I went outside and signed some autographs. I really found their enthusiasm endearing.”
What he does for fun.
“I like very normal things, like hiking and camping. When it comes to sports I go skiing, surf boarding, snowboarding, and skateboarding. But, I guess at this point a perfect day for me is probably just relaxing and hanging out with friends. It’s not always easy to be left alone, but I try not to think about it. You can’t let fear control you.”
His silliest moment.
“I found the hand of a mannequin in homeroom class in high school. So I attached it to the sleeve of my shirt and then I had my real hand hidden inside. I would walk up to people and take my real hand out, and it looked like an alien was jumping out of my chest. They thought I had a third hand. I really scared some people.”
Bringing his dad along for the ride.
“When I made the choice to become an actor, I think he would have been much happier if I went to college. But he got over it. I haven’t seen anyone enjoy themselves more on a set, which can be a very boring place when you’re not working. My dad comes down every chance he gets. It’s almost cute. He’s definitely enjoying this ride. Now, he’s my number one supporter.”
Why he’d like to be like Orson Welles.
“Orson was very ambitious, but he just approached his career with such ease and confidence. That’s how I would like to be. That’s how I’m trying to be. I want to learn as much as I can and go for scary things, movies that could potentially fail. That’s what makes it interesting and fun. That’s how you should live your life. It’s kind of my motto, I guess.”
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The secret to the Zac Efron hairstyle.
“I have to say it’s pretty low maintenance, so it’s appealing for lazy individuals like me. You don’t have to do anything really, it just goes that way. You don’t even have to put gel in it or anything. OK, there is one thing. If you wash it at night and leave it damp, just towel dry it, you wake up in the morning and you’re all set.”