Sunday, May 6, 2012

He more than anyone reminds you of high school. Ok, Facebook manages to remind us of someone we went to school everyday with at one time, that now we talk to the guy that sat next to us in 4th grade more than we talk to our relatives. It almost makes you wonder if there is life after high school. Well Zack Efron is trying real hard to find new life in his acting career away from musicals and high school.
He is known as the heartthrob from the “High School Musical” movies but now he is staring in a film called “The Lucky One” and we are lucky that there isn’t any singing or dancing in this one; also he isn’t a teenager anymore. He is 24 years old now and is proving that there can be life after high school.
In 2006 Zac starred in what may be the most popular made for TV movie ever. Yes, High School Musical was being aired on the Disney channel all the time and has been seen by an estimated 290 Million viewers world wide. How can he escape that kind of exposure now? Should he? When funny men Robin Williams and Jim Carey went from funny to dramatic their careers went dramatically down.
In his latest movie “The Lucky One” he plays a Marine on his third tour in Iraq. He had to train to carry a 80 pound flat jacket loaded with full weaponry and learn how to disarm someone carrying a gun. No dancing or singing here. In the Movie based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, curiosity about the stray photograph of a woman leads him out of danger when a bomb goes off. The curiosity of the picture leads him to find the woman. Yes a romantic war movie.
Like the theme of the movie, the smallest thing has changed his life too. He was born and raised on the central California coast from parents that worked at a power plant. He calls his childhood pretty standard but as a child he could sing songs and memorize lyrics and to non musical people he was outstanding. So, dance classes and piano lessons got him into regional musical theater and at age 12 he had a part in a professional production of Gypsy.
Zac loved it and got a agent and with the help of his mom who drove him 3 hours one way to casting calls soon got bit parts on TV like a gun shot victim on ER and as a child on the sci-fi series Firefly. The paycheck from that role made his father believe that he should pursue acting. Caching! Besides, the man didn’t save any money for Zac’s college funds. So, when he landed the part in High School musical, it kept him busy for another 3 years.
It became a three movie blockbuster. It was a hit because the teens did more blushing than kissing, a safe movie you could trust your kids to be able to see. The music became number one on I Tunes and became the best selling Album of 2006. Zac didn’t actually sing in the first movie because he was still squeaking from a boys to a man’s sound, yes, puberty problems.
He fought to sing in the second film and won. It’s premiere was the most watched basic cable telecast in history. The third movie brought in $80 Million dollars world wide in its first 3 days. Success like that brings lots of fans all from the screaming young teen sector. He was labeled “The New American Heart Throb.” He then got the too cool part in “Hairspray.” His biggest decision of his life so far was to back out of the lead in ‘Footloose” in 2009 that probably would have been perfect for him.
He chooses to “take the harder route” and give a try as a dramatic actor. Sure, every doctor or lawyer should try something different from what they are successful at. Really?
In 2008 he stared in a drama in “Me and Orson Wells’ that was a hit with the critics but no one saw it. Then in 2010 in another drama “ Charlie Saint Cloud” where the critics and the fans hated it. “The Lucky One” is only his second grown up role with love scenes that go well beyond a first kiss.
So, don’t let your little girls that know him from the musicals see this one unless you want them seeing a older Zac having full sex scenes. He is a guy that has had a lucky run that is now willing to gamble his teen idolness for a shot at something very different. Action, drama and sex. What time is the movie on?

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