Want the inside scoop on the hunky High School Musical hottie? You got it! Zac waxes lyrical about college, shaving his head and the secret scenes filmed exclusively for the HSM3 DVD… Phwoar!
You’ve got the world at your feet, Zac! Have you got any advice for people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Zac Efron: The one thing I would say to anyone who is considering acting is do it because you love doing it. Don’t do anything just to be famous. It would really suck if you had the fame without the love for what you do.
Do you still enjoy acting?
Zac Efron: Are you kidding me? Of course I do! I wouldn’t change anything for the world, although the fame part of this industry is tough to handle at times. I can tell you that fame is probably the most unadorable thing about acting. High School Musical is what got me here today and I’m very grateful – but the fame part isn’t so fun.
Is it difficult to relax when you’re photographed wherever you go?
Zac Efron: To be honest, I can’t handle the paparazzi. They’re everywhere. One of them was in a dumpster trying to take my photo the other day. It was crazy! Another time, one was hanging off the back of a pick-up truck driving down a road. They think they’re being clever, but they’re not.
Would you like to get away from all the paparazzi then?
Zac Efron: Sure, I’d love to take a year off and travel the world under the radar. I would love to do it really low key. I wouldn’t need to stay in fancy hotels or anything; I just want to explore – but I don’t know how I’d do it. Would I shave my head to try and go incognito? Ha ha! I’m not telling.
Is college in your plans for the future?
Zac Efron: I was accepted into film school at USC, which is something I would love to do, although I believe it’s something that will always be there for me. Right now, I’m part of something that could be gone tomorrow, so I’m going to see what happens with this career for now. I’m enjoying where I’m at in my life and I feel like I’m learning a lot on a daily basis. I’m learning without having to be behind a desk, so it’s a pretty cool place to be.
Do you learn a lot on film sets?
Zac Efron: Sure. I recently filmed an independent movie with the director, Richard Linklater, where I learned loads. It was very exciting and a great change of pace to High School Musical. I had a lot of scenes, but I never had to break into a song and dance, which was very different! It was a very educational experience because I’ve always admired Richard Linklater’s movies. He was very inspirational.
What did you learn on the set of High School Musical 3?
Zac Efron: I learned loads! I couldn’t believe how much they stepped up the choreography and the music and everything. It’s been an amazing experience.
Do you ever see the choreography and think, ‘There’s no way I can do that!’?
Zac Efron: Sure, but you just have to get on with it. You have to meet everyone’s expectations because you don’t want to be the one to crack. You just have to put your heart into it and go for it.
What was the atmosphere like on set for the third movie?
Zac Efron: I think we found the delicate balance between work and play on the set of High School Musical 3. We kept it interesting and had fun, but we also worked very hard and that’s something that’s very difficult to achieve. Usually, you either work too hard or have too much fun on a movie set – but we did both. I think we perfected that.
Are you going to miss the East High basketball court?
Zac Efron: Ha ha! I’ll never forget filming Now Or Never for the third movie. It was completely surreal because we were playing against a real team. Every time you missed a shot, people would boo. It was crazy!
How does it feel to know that you’ve finished all three films?
Zac Efron: It’s very strange. You know when the kids leave the wardrobe in Narnia and they’re the only ones who really know what happened inside? Finishing High School Musical is kinda like that. It’s very much like a fairytale because we’ve been in this crazy, crazy world together.
Does this mean you have a special bond with your cast mates?
Zac Efron: Sure. It’s really cool that we’ve got each other to relate to. I go home and it’s fun to laugh about my adventures with my high school friends, but none of them can really understand all of the exciting and amazing stuff that’s happened to me. But they also don’t understand some of the things that aren’t so great, too, like the fame.
Spill the beans, Zac… Do you sing or lip synch in front of the cameras when you’re shooting the musical scenes?
Zac Efron: We do actually sing when you see us singing in the movie because it makes the performance much more real. If you lip synch, it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t look genuine, so it’s much better to sing along to the music. We’ll all sing along with the playback wherever we are shooting.
Are there any scenes that didn’t make it into the big-screen version of the movie?
Zac Efron: There are – and they were recorded especially for the DVD. There’s a reprise of the song Right Here, Right Now, which is a really cool scene you’ll see for the first time on the DVD.
Amazing! What happens in it?
Zac Efron: Well, Troy and Gabriella are really feeling the tension of the situation and the uncertainty of their future – and they’re singing about it in two very different locations. They don’t realize it, but they’re actually singing together and almost to each other. It’s very, very sweet.
Why do you think HSM is so popular around the world?
Zac Efron: you know what? I think high school is just a backdrop for a lot more important things that’s going on in High School Musical. All over the world, kids are kids and growing up can be tough. That’s really what we’re singing about and that’s what the kids are connecting to. I mean, I didn’t necessarily like high school, so this is the fairytale within high school that we show.
With HSM behind you, are you scared or excited about the future?
Zac Efron: I’m all of the above! It’s scary and exciting, but that’s exactly how you feel when you finish high school. You feel ready and you feel prepared, but you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen. You’re eager to find out!
So what is next for you?
Zac Efron: I’ve signed up for a movie called Footloose with [HSM director] Kenny Ortega. We’re just trying to figure out how to do it at the moment – but it will be great to work on a musical movie again.
Will there ever be another High School Musical?
Zac Efron: Everyone always asks this question! I will always support these movies. We’ve found something that kids are relating to around the world and that’s very special. We didn’t have anything like this before – and I think it would be great to continue the tradition for as long as kids continue to respond to it. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.
Interview By: Emma Loggins