Friday, April 20, 2012

My Zac Efron Interview (The Lucky One)

Ready for a sexy Zac Efron?
By Raymond de Asis Lo/L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated April 19, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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In The Lucky One, Zac not only shows his mature and muscled 24-year-old side but he also bares (nearly) his backside before the camera during an intense and lengthy love scene with his leading lady, Taylor Schilling.| Zoom
MANILA, Philippines - Do you think fans of Zac Efron are ready to see him all grown-up on the big screen? The boyish Hollywood heartthrob thinks so. “I think they’re excited. I think they’re very excited,” he stated during last week’s junket for his new movie, the romantic drama The Lucky One, a Warner Bros.’ adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks bestseller where the actor not only shows his mature and muscled 24-year-old side but he also bares (nearly) his backside before the camera during an intense and lengthy love scene with his leading lady, Taylor Schilling, that serves as one of the movie’s biggest highlights.

In The Lucky One, the former teen idol portrays a US marine sergeant who returns to America from his third tour of duty determined to find the mysterious woman in the picture he discovered in the rubbles after a violent standoff with Iraqi insurgents. The role marks Zac’s transition to more mature parts.

He recounted feeling excited when he was offered the part. “I was very scared initially about playing a marine. I was kind of shaking my head at the part, just saying, ‘I’m not right for this.’ I don’t think I’m right for this role. And then after I saw Scott’s movies, I realized that he had taken a lot of different actors on journeys that they weren’t, you know, I didn’t see them in… And when I saw Shine, I just realized I’d be lucky at any point in my career to work with a filmmaker like this. And if it wasn’t scary, then I shouldn’t be doing it. So, that was when I realized that this was the part for me.”

Scott Hicks is the Australian director whose previous movies include the Oscar-nominated Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars and the Anthony Hopkins coming-of-age drama Hearts in Atlantis.

Zac also recalled that as part of his preparation for his role he went with the director to a marine camp in San Diego to meet with the soldiers in person to allow him to get a feel of his character in real life.

“I went to Camp Pendleton with Scott. And that was the first day where it really hit home — ‘What kind of guy this guy was?’” he remembered thinking to himself. “You know, all of our forces and our troops are of a different breed — they were real men! They were my age. I was 22… 23, maybe — and they were my age!”

“They had been on three or four tours, you know, and had already been out there and become men on that journey. And seeing them, just through osmosis and being around them and hanging out with them, I was able to sort of pick up on what sets them apart, you know.”

The time Zac spent with the marines opened his eyes to the world of these unsung soldiers who risk their lives and leave their families behind to fight terrorists thousands of miles away just so we can all feel safe and sound in our own homes. “It was powerful. It was neat watching them recount stories. Their sense of memory and the way they would feed off of each other. Some of them had been in combat together, you know, and we were just like sponges. I don’t think I took a deep breath the whole time I… It was so amazing.”

Asked how it was like to transition from being a teen idol to playing his first grown-up role — an ex-marine, for that matter, the handsome actor flashed a smile and nodded. “It was neat,” he replied. “Logan (his character’s name) is a very sort of sensible, very, very noble character. He has what I think is just like real, a different kind of integrity. He always does what’s right, you know.”

He added that he enjoyed playing his character even if Logan had less humor and had less of the regular song and dance that’s a staple in his previous movies.

But when asked about the daring love scenes, Zac blushed, turned a bit shy, and could only manage to describe the scene as “very nice.” The smile on his face, however, spoke volumes.

Meanwhile, his leading lady, Taylor, thought those intimate scenes were “easy” to shoot. “Zac makes it easy,” she said. “Yeah, those scenes, I think, when you’re lucky to work with somebody that you feel comfortable with… they can be easy days at work.”

“Yeah, (Because) we didn’t have any lines,” Zac joked before breaking into a hearty laugh.

Before one concludes that those love scenes were written into the story just so fans of Zac would see him in the buff, one should be reminded that these scenes are very essential to establish the all-conquering love story that’s typical in every Nicholas Sparks novel. Taylor explained that The Lucky One is “this beautiful fantasy of meeting somebody who (finds) that true love that can, kind of, heal all and conquer all and I think we got a chance to really explore that within the scenes with each other.”

Zac admitted being drawn to the love story as well. “I think that what was so neat about Logan as a character is after all that he had experienced, that he still had the drive and purpose to, you know… that there was a higher calling for him. There was something, another reason for him to be here. His mission wasn’t over yet.”

Like his character in the movie, the actor somewhat believes that we are all controlled by a fate and destiny that’s already been pre-designed for us.

“I believe in it at the end of the day,” he said haltingly. “I think that there’s something there… I look back at all the… So many different times that you could take the easy road that would have been… I don’t know, it could have ended things. But… I don’t know. There’s something, something guiding me?”

Whether there’s something guiding him or not, the grown-up Zac is fully in control of his career. He has just recently put up his own production company and will start developing movies for himself and for other actors. He just wrapped up a movie with Nicole Kidman. And, just recently, he will grace the Philippine ad campaign for Penshoppe.

But then you would ask: If he was really in control whose fault was it when he supposedly dropped a condom during the red carpet for his recent movie The Lorax?

I guess, the best answer to that is actually very simple: Zac, the former teen idol, is now a grown-up — responsible and mature. That’s all.

The Lucky One opens today in theaters.

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