Zac Efron bites into edgier rolesBy Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THERE’S good reason why celebrity watchers are feeling the heat this month: Zac Efron is coming to Manila to grace this year’s Penshoppe Fan Conference on Sept. 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
For a couple of years now, the swoon-worthy matinee idol has been taking on edgier roles that he can sink his thespic teeth into. The transition began as he was wrapping up the “High School Musical” franchise via the period piece, “Me and Orson Welles.”
His succeeding films—“17 Again,” “Charlie St. Cloud,” “New Year’s Eve,” “The Lorax” and the Nicholas Sparks drama, “The Lucky One”—further boosted his commercial viability and mainstream appeal. They received mixed reviews, but both moviegoers and critics heaped unanimous praise on the actor’s versatility and emerging dramatic heft.
Where does he go from here? The 24-year-old actor says he wants to explore his craft more deeply. In fact, Zac has been film festival-hopping this year: He plays a kooky slacker in “Liberal Arts,” which premiered at Sundance in January.
His next stop was Cannes, for Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy,” in which Efron portrays Jack, the younger brother of reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey), who is investigating the events surrounding a murder, in order to exonerate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), who’s on death row.
This month, Zac is making waves in Venice, at the world’s oldest film festival—this time for Ramin Bahrani’s “At Any Price,” a searing family drama set in the cutthroat world of agriculture and big business.
He plays race-car driver, Dean Whipple, the happy-go-lucky son of farmer Henry (Dennis Quaid).
After his forays into the festival circuit, the actor will reunite with director Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) in “This Is Where I Leave You,” about a family that is forced to fulfill their father’s final wish—to observe their faith’s traditions for one week as they figure out their problems together! The exciting cast includes Goldie Hawn and Jason Bateman.
You want to see Zac in another rom-com? Reuters reported early this week that Efron has just signed on to topbill Tom Gormican’s “Are We Officially Dating?”—which follows “three friends in New York City who make a pact to remain single, just as they each start to fall in love!”
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