Zac Efron, a heartthrob for millions of teenaged girls in the U.S. and Canada, is on a nakedly ambitious push towards leading man status. That is the motivation behind his title role in the melodrama “Charlie St. Cloud,” which arrived on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
“This is his passage into being a leading man,” says filmmaker Burr Steers, who directed Efron in both “Charlie St. Cloud” and last year’s “17 Again.”
Efron, a Californian, turned 23 on Oct. 18. “Charlie St. Cloud” focuses on a former high school student in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (although the movie was shot in British Columbia). Just after graduation and before he attends university, Charlie is a driver in a horrific car accident which claims his 11-year-old brother Sam. Even though he is not responsible, Charlie spends the next five years grieving, emotionally paralyzed. He is resigned to a life of drudgery in the graveyard where Sam is buried – and near where he visits Sam daily to play catch, apparently in a spirit world. But a new crisis gives Charlie a chance to redeem himself.
“It’s challenging material,” producer Marc Platt says in the featurette, “Zac Efron: Leading Man,” which is among extras on both the DVD and Blu-ray.
Efron debuted briefly as young Simon in Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” series in 2002. He became a star as the lead in Disney’s “High School Musical” trilogy from 2006-08. His first substantial dramatic role came in Richard Linklater’s “Me and Orson Welles” in 2008, as a romantic rival to Welles for the leading lady.
Then came “17 Again.”
“We were very conscious that ’17 Again’ was an incremental step away from the ‘High School Musicals’,” Steers says. “But, still, it was a comedy.”
“Charlie St. Cloud” is different. “It’s a huge role for Zac,” says actress Amanda Crew, his on-screen love interest, “and I am extremely excited for him.” Efron’s performance is good, although not great, because he gets too overwrought emotionally. “I immediately felt a connection to Charlie,” he says of his interest in the role.
“Charlie St. Cloud” generated a modest $44.5 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. But the DVD and Blu-rays are expected to do better, giving the charming Efron a wider, slightly older audience, especially because his “High School Musical” fans are growing up with him. [Source]
Actor Zac Efron knew he was destined to star in sailing drama “Charlie St. Cloud” because he read the script on a boat trip with his father. The star plays the title character, who is a keen sailor mourning the death of his brother, and the “High School Musical” hunk knew he wanted to take on the film project from the very first moment he opened the script.
He explains, “I remember it (the script) was in the bottom of my backpack and I, oddly enough, went on a sailboat with my dad. I opened the script after we had spent the night on the boat and went to the front of the deck and started flipping through the script. The first few pages were on a sailboat and the weirdest thing was as I was reading it the boat started rocking, the wind filled the sails and it was like ‘(God) you have to make that obvious (I should take the part)’.” [Source]
Kim Basinger almost turned down the chance to play Zac Efron’s mother in “Charlie St. Cloud” until her starstruck teenage daughter convinced her to take on the role. The actress admits she was unsure about whether to accept a part in the “High School Musical” hunk’s new drama, about a young man mourning the death of his brother.
But when Basinger’s daughter Ireland discovered she’d been linked to the role, she “went nuts” and urged her mum to accept the job. She says, “When I mentioned it to my 14-year-old daughter it was the funniest thing. She went nuts. She said, ‘What, not go to Vancouver and not play Zac Efron’s mom?’ She said, ‘You’re crazy!'” [Source]
“High School Musical” star Zac Efron has left his teen movie days behind him in his new, emotionally charged film, “The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud.” The 22-year-old actor plays a young man overcome by grief at the death of his little brother. He described how he drew on personal experience to help him play a more emotional role.
Zac Efron has described “Death & Life Of Charlie St. Cloud” as more real than his previous films. Speaking to Premiere, the “High School Musical” star said that he is not concerned about alienating his younger fans with his new role.
“It’s a bit more real than before, we’re no longer in a heightened reality. These things do happen!” Efron said, referring to his character’s drinking and relationship with Amanda Crew’s yachtswoman Tess Carroll.
He continued: “I think [fans] are old enough now, at least the ones who’ll come see this movie, hopefully they’ll understand that and won’t be too taken aback by it. It’s quite soft.”
Commenting on the movie’s central love story, Efron said: “It’s real, it’s true love.”
“Death & Life Of Charlie St. Cloud” opens in the UK on October 8. [Source]
Zac Efron was faced with the biggest decision of his career and life when he offered a tasty role to star in the recreated movie, “Footloose.” Even though the decision seemed so easy to accept, the actor turned the chance to earn a whopping $10 million dollars, global fame and superstardom down to the amazement of everyone around him.
Kenny Ortega, the director of “High School Musical” even couldn’t believe his ears when the actor told him in October 2009 to turn the one-in-a-million opportunity down. The 22-year-old actor, who is on tour promoting his new flick “Charlie St. Cloud,” revealed that it was not an easy decision to make but he just didn’t want to be in a rush as he didn’t feel ready for such an acting role at the time. The actor has a new facial hair look and many of his female fans just can’t seem to have enough of him.
Efron stated that he made a decision based on his feelings for the first time then and even though he knew everyone expected him to say yes, he had to decline because it just didn’t feel right. Many of his close people were very much disappointed with his decision especially Ortega who also had to let the opportunity pass because of Efron’s rejection.
The actor has starred in other movies aside “High School Musical” including “17 Again” which made over $140 million at the Box Office. He also featured in “Me and Orson Welles” which showed a lot of his talents even though the movie was a major flop, selling just $2 million.
His character in “Charlie St. Cloud” is a young handsome man who is due to attend college but become grief-stricken when his younger brother passes away in a vehicle accident. He loses it and locks himself up in his seafront hometown to work as an undertaker in the local cemetery.
The ghost of his dead brother pays him a visit everyday till decision time comes when he has decide whether to stop mourning and continue living his life or continue to wallow in the sadness of his brother’s death.
He said it was a very challenging role unlike the ones he was used to and feels satisfied that he didn’t disappoint his fans. [Source]
Boyfriend of Vanessa Hudgens and the hunky lad of ‘High School Musical’ fame, Zac Efron is currently being run in the cinema halls via his film ‘Charlie St. Cloud,’ his 1st big attempt at the drama genre.
Zac Efron shares one of his scary experiences while shooting for the film. He reveals how frightening it was for him to shoot an underwater sequence. In the climax of the drama, he had to film an underwater scene which shook the soul out of him as he was utterly petrified. The role demanded that he stayed under water for nearly 15 minutes; something that was extremely frightening since he could hardly see anything.
Recalling that experience, he shudders, “It was one of the most surreal experiences. In (watching) movies growing up whenever I see underwater scenes I always assumed they somehow figured out a way for actors to breathe underwater. The actual challenge of being underwater for minutes at a time and moving from oxygen tank to oxygen tank is so hard. I would be submerged for like 15, 16 minutes at a time. It’s really nuts, that was really hard to do. You can’t see anything!”
However, Zac has got his hopes pinned on the film and is happy with the way this film has helped him test his versatility and mental strength. [Source]