The 'High School Musical' star is all grown up in 'The Lucky One'.
Zac Efron sure has a lot to be thankful for. Plucked from relative obscurity, he shot to superstardom thanks in part to the juggernaut that was ‘High School Musical’.
The fame that came early on in could have had a debilitating effect on the young star’s career. But Efron has managed to stay in the spotlight with movies such as ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ and “Me and Orson Welles”, proving himself capable of carving a career outside of the Disney franchise. Making the transition from former teen heartthrob to bona fide leading man, Efron is certainly all grown up.
The 24-year-old tackles his most mature role to date in the ‘The Lucky One’. In this latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, Efron plays U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault who has defied the odds during three tours of duty in Iraq. When Thibault discovers a photograph of an unknown woman (Taylor Schilling) half-buried in the sand and pulls it out, it becomes his lucky charm that he credits with keeping him alive. After he returns stateside in search of this mystery savior, the picture becomes the catalyst for an unusual and moving journey of discovery and healing.
In a candid interview, Efron and fellow lead Schilling wax lyrical about everything from true love to meeting the expectations of a built-in, book-to-film audience.
Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron
Does it help you create a character when you’ve got a book? We mean, certainly in this case you’ve got Nicholas Sparks’ original novel as well as the script. Do you go to them or do you make the script your universe?
Zac Efron (ZE): I think it’s somewhere in between. There are specific moments that come out of the book and out of the writing that are really an examination into a character’s thought process and what’s going on that are very fun to read, and offer all kinds of different explanations and little things that you can think about during the scene. But, also, you have to look in the context of the script. You can’t have all kinds of wild other things coming in.
When you're portraying such a pure love story like this, do you just get carried away with the ideal of true love finding a way, or do you feel a responsibility to ground it in reality?
Taylor Schilling (TS): Well, I hope that people can relate to it a little bit, or at least maybe that no matter what has been going on in their life or what their relationship is like or where they feel they are, that there is that potential for true love or romance available, no matter where you are in your life or what’s happened.
Can you talk about making the transition from television to film? Do you prefer this? Or do you like both?
TS: Strictly based on schedule, I think film is more conducive to the work. Just the timing of working in a TV series was really demanding. So, I prefer at this point to tell stories with a little more time in a film.
‘The Lucky One’ trailer
Does that mean like when you’re doing TV, you have to keep things moving even if you don't really have time to nail it down?
ZE: You have to. I mean, ultimately, at the end of the day, there’s a bigger cause here. It’s not that you have a perfect scene. It’s that you’ve got work to be done and you have to finish. There’s a lot of different people’s money in there. And at that point you’re taking on a bigger responsibility. And you do. You’re much more than just an actor on set. You’ve got to kind of take the helm, in a way. And I think that on TV it’s different. It’s a bit more demanding at times. And there are more things that you have to take into account.
Is there a saying or a motto or just something that you’ve learned that keeps you grounded no matter what happens?
ZE: I think what always helps me is to take a step back. I always want to maintain how grateful I am for all of these opportunities. And, at the end of the day, no matter how hard things seem to get, sometimes you can make anything hard in your mind. I like to take a step back and just look at the big picture. Look at the planet earth and me on it and know that I am grateful for every second I have to be able to do what I do. And that’s what keeps me from flying off into space.
TS: That’s pretty good. [Laughs] I don’t know. I mean, honestly, if there’s something to lean back on, I think it is gratitude when things get a little bit hairy or maybe not going exactly the way that I’d want them to. I mean, that’s a never-fail to look back and realize how blessed I am to be able to do this, and even to sit here with you guys and talk about this.