Zac Efron Network

We’ve got an early look at teen sensation Zac Efron (“High School Musical,” “17 Again”) in new drama “Me and Orson Welles,” which has been given a UK release date of December 4, 2009. The film stars Efron as student Richard Samuels, who manages to nab a small role in the now-legendary 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Julius Ceaser, directed by a young Orson Welles (played by newcomer Christian McKay). “Me and Orson Welles” also stars Ben Chaplin (The Water Horse), Claire Danes (Stardust), Eddie Marsan (Red Riding) and Zoe Kazan (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee), and is directed by Richard Linklater (Before Sunset, School of Rock).

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Hot off her scary turn in the supernatural thriller “The Haunting in Connecticut,” actress Amanda Crew has just inked a deal to appear opposite “High School Musical’s” Zac Efron in the romantic ghost story “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud” for Universal Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Adapted from a Ben Sherwood novel, the movie is about a cemetery caretaker who finds himself communicating with the spirits of the dead, with Crew playing his love interest. The film is expected to be lensed by Burr Steers, who worked with Efron previously on the age-reversal comedy-fantasy “17 Again.” [Source]

Zac Efron is best known for his singing and dancing role in the “High School Musical” series but it seems that Zac is growing up and doing working his serious acting muscles in the new period piece, “Me and Orson Welles.” The film is based on the book by the same title and co-stars Claire Danes and Christian McKay. The story is set in 1937 and is about a teenager, Richard Samuels, who stars in an Orson Welles production of Julius Caesar and helps in the founding of Welles’ Mercury Theatre. Once he begins working, the Samuels falls in love with an ambitious production assistant.

Zac Efron said that the reason he accepted this role was because “It’s a completely different project than I’ve ever done before.”

The movie was shot on location in Isle of Mann, Pinewood Studios, New York and London for a little over three months. The director chose the closest replica to substitute for the real Mercury Theatre in England where many of the actors were from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The crew shot various locations in New York and the director had each street built in Pinewood Studios with a greenscreen placed at the end so that the New York footage they shot could be dropped into the background giving the illusion of 1937 New York City. The production design team changed the street by dressing it differently and the cinematographer would use different angles to get use the set for various different street locations without rebuilding entire sets.

Some of the film was screened at Cannes in 2008 to seek a distribution deal for the film; however, it failed to find a buyer there despite the appeal of the young star and Linklater’s impressive directing resume. Ultimately, CinemaNX picked up the film for distribution in partnership with Vue Entertainment which will share packaging and advertising costs. In September, 2009, the director will be given the Maverick Award at the Woodstock Film Festival.

The reviews for “Me and Orson Welles” have been mostly positive and Roger Ebert called it “one of the best movies about the theater that I’ve ever seen”. Despite the positive reviews, Zac Efron was criticized for his performance by Todd McCarthy of Variety magazine who stated “Efron never feels like a proper fit for Richard”. Audiences will have to decide that for themselves. The film will be released this year although the exact date has yet to be announced. [Source]

When Richard Linklater directed “School of Rock” you’d think he’d stay in the world of profitable, A-list comedy. After all, the paychecks are bigger than what you’d make for say, directing a film that features Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy discussing abstraction and truth, uninterrupted on the streets of Paris. But Linklater has always followed his own path, and despite making some of the most memorable films of the last twenty years (“Dazed and Confused,” “Waking Life”), the director still struggles to get projects off the ground. I recently had the chance to speak to Linklater from his home in Austin, where we discussed his latest documentary, his upcoming period piece “Me and Orson Welles” starring Zac Efron and Claire Danes, and anything and everything about the movie business.

You just finished shooting “Me and Orson Welles” with Zac Efron and Claire Danes. How was that experience?
Beautiful. It’s coming out this fall. I couldn’t be more happy with it. And Zac is fantastic. He worked really hard. I know it’s always boring when people say how great everyone is they work with, but Zac’s the real deal and he’s going to have a really long career, because he’s meant to be here.

So he’s not just a song and dance man?
He’s too talented, he’s too much a natural. I’ve never met anyone less conflicted about performing. He’s just born to do what he’s doing. And he’s really smart, and he works hard. He has a good family. I’d say his foundation is such that he’s not going to be a fuck up and sabotage himself.

What kind of person flames out?
Usually people who do that are the ones who feel like they haven’t worked hard and really have had it hoisted on them. They’re picked out of a line, suddenly you’re in the public eye, and think maybe you don’t deserve it or something.

Was there any mobbing on set, because Robert Pattinson is getting it like crazy in New York right now.
Yeah, Zac attracts that same mob, but he handles it pretty well. How can you take it seriously? The age range of that mob is pretty young. It just shows you there’s not a lot going on in the physical world for a lot of people. People like showing up and being excited about something. It’s kind of fun to hear that squeal of young girls, I never really heard it before in person. When they encounter Zac Efron, it’s just a pitch range that I haven’t heard in my lifetime. [Source]

Zac Efron has been just nominated for Teen Choice Awards 2009. Zac scored nominations for both “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” and “17 Again.” The gala is going to take place in August 2009. You can vote for Zac Efron by clicking here. And here are his nominations…

Movie: Music/Dance
• “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
• “Hannah Montana: The Movie”
• “Steppin: The Movie”
• “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience”
• “Nick & Nora Infinite Playlist”

Movie Actor: Comedy
• Ben Stiller (“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” “Tropic Thunder”)
• Jim Carrey (“Yes Man”)
• Will Ferrell (“Land of the Lost”)
• Seth Rogen (“Observe & Report,” “Pineapple Express”)
• Zac Efron (“17 Again”)

Movie: Actor Music/Dance
• Jason Earles (“Hannah Montana: The Movie”)
• Zac Efron (“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”)
• Corbin Bleu (“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”)
• Michael Cera (“Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist”)
• Lucas Till (“Hannah Montana: The Movie”)

Movie: Liplock
• Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson (“Twilight”)
• Freida Pinto & Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”)
• Vanessa Hudgens & Zac Efron (“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”)
• Miley Cyrus & Lucas Till (“Hannah Montana: The Movie”)
• Owen Wilson & Marley (“Marley & Me”)

Movie Rockstar Moment
• Anne Hathaway (“Bride Wars”)
• Jim Carrey (“Yes Man”)
• Paul Rudd & Jason Segal (“I Love You Man”)
• Mike Tyson, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”)
• Zac Efron (“17 Again”)

Choice Music: Soundtrack
• “Gossip Girl”
• “Hannah Montana: The Movie”
• “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
• “Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert Experience”
• “Twilight”

Choice Male Hottie
• Chace Crawford
• Zac Efron
• Jonas Brothers
• Taylor Kitsch
• Robert Pattinson

Choice Red Carpet Icon: Male
• Zac Efron
• Jonas Brothers
• Adam Lambert
• Justin Timberlake
• Kanye West