June 10, 2005
Young actor Zac Efron became almost an instant heartthrob among the scores of teen girls who first saw him in The WB series "Summerland." But there's lots more to Zac than his on-screen persona of Cameron Bale. We caught up with Zac during the filming of his latest movie, "The Derby Stallion," and he was good enough to take some time out from shooting to give us an interview.
Young Star News Interview with Zac Efron:
Full name: Zachary David Alexander Efron
Date and Location of Birth: October 18, 1987, San Luis Obispo, California
Current State of residence: California
Any brothers or sisters? I have 1 younger brother, Dylan, whoís not into showbiz but is into sports.
How has your life or career changed since "Summerland?" Well, before Summerland everything I had was just a guest-starring role and you donít really get to know the cast when youíre there for just a day or two. Then when Summerland came along and I was just a guest-star at the time but slowly I became a part of the cast. Everything is completely different when youíre around people that are like your family. And when you get to know everybody itís more like hanging around with a bunch of friends. Itís much more relaxed. Also I really got to see what acting is like.
You also did a Lifetime movie, Miracle Run. Was that after you started in Summerland? And what can you tell us about that experience? Actually I got that movie about the same time I started Summerland. So halfway through Season 1 I went to film Miracle Run and the project turned out fantastic.
You played an autistic twin brother in Miracle Run. What did you have to do to prepare for that role? I actually pretty much had the character when I went into the audition. I had known someone over the years who wasnít autistic but he was very different. He had mannerisms, and the way he talked, and a very distinct attitude that he carried around. Thatís pretty much what I based the character on, I was always sort of imitating him in my mind. Basically I did an impression of him. I also read a book about autism which gave me a lot of insight into the character.
From a career standpoint, Summerland was a real turning point. But in another sense it has made you a ďpinup boy,Ē with your picture in magazines like "Popstar," and fans making websites devoted to you. Have you seen any of those sites? I have seen a couple of those sites. Itís really strange to type my name into Google and have more than 20 hits. Itís a trip! People call me up and say ďWow, you have a websiteĒ and I say ďwhich one?Ē
Itís completely different to me, to have people go online to look at my pictures, and people sign on to have chats about me, itís so alien, itís really weird, because Iím just a regular person. Iím just a kid, I like to play video games, I get into fights with my little brother, all that regular stuff. It all gets a little blown out of proportion, not that I donít enjoy it, but itís just a weird feeling and kind of hard to describe.
To a lot of the teeny-bopper set, youíre a real heartthrob. Have you had any weird experiences with fans? Every once in awhile Iíll be in a shopping mall or someplace like that and thereíll be a small group of people, first just maybe 1 or 2 people, usually young girls, that I notice are around me the entire time Iím in the mall! And as I go from store to store the crowd starts to grow. Finally one of them gets the courage to say hello and then all the rest just rush in. One time I got trapped in a mall with a friend and we had to run to leave the place!
Do you play any sports? When I was younger I tried the whole ďlittle leagueĒ thing. I tried baseball, I was bad at it. I tried basketball, I was bad at it. That might be one of the reason I got into acting (chuckles). Nowadays I donít do any real conventional sports, though you might find me sometimes in the yard shooting hoops or playing hacky sack. I guess now (since filming "The Derby Stallion") horse riding is something I like to do too.
Was anyone else in your family ever in showbiz? Well, Iím pretty much the first one in my family, other than my grandmother who was in the circus a long time ago, but that didnít have any effect on me getting into it.
I understand you have a singing voice as well, is that true? (Blushes) Some people believe so, some people call it that. But itís true, I love to sing. I havenít done any singing lately because I havenít had any roles that required that. I had done some musical theater when I was younger. When I was a lot younger my dad noticed that whatever song came on the radio I would sing along with it, and that I could carry a tune, which was really different than anyone in our family because no one in our family had ever sang before. So finally after I failed at all my sports my dad encouraged me to get into this musical play audition and they gave me the part. It was the newsboy in Gypsy and the whole time I was on the stage I was singing. From there I did lots of musical theater and took voice lessons and started piano, so Iíve been doing music my entire life.
Many young actors and actresses these days have also made music CDs, have you ever thought about a 2-track career like that? Well, it seems like a lot of people are doing that now. Itís almost like all you need is a good voice to come out with your own album. Other people write all your music for you. If I were ever going to do that, which I havenít thought about at all, I would make sure I did all my own music and all my own songs, but Iím not looking at that anywhere in the near future. Thatís far, far away if I ever did consider it.
Is there anything youíd like to say to your fans? The fans make the person a star. Iíd be nowhere if no one watched Summerland, if there were no fans. Iím very grateful to the fans, itís great to have people appreciate what you do on the screen.
Thank you, Zac, for your time and this fun interview!
(There's more of our Interview with Zac on our "The Derby Stallion" interview page.)
Interview © Young Star News, 2005, and may not be reprinted in whole or in part, electronically or otherwise.
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More About Zac Efron
Hot young actor Zac Efron got his start in show business when he was 11 years old, playing the part of the newsboy in the stage musical "Gypsy." As you can tell from the interview, landing that first role that was due in part to his singing voice, noticed by his dad. After 90 performances in "Gypsy," Zac was hooked, and appeared in more stage plays, including "Peter Pan," "Mame," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "The Music Man." After landing some TV guest roles in shows like "ER" and "The Guardian," Zac was fortunate to land the recurring role of Cameron Bale in the sizzling WB hit show "Summerland." Around that time he also booked a lead role in the Lifetime TV movie "Miracle Run," based on the true story of a mother who makes every effort to raise her two autistic sons in as normal a manner as possible, despite the public school system's attempts to institutionalize the boys.
Aside from his chosen career as a young actor, which puts his face in front of millions of viewers and splashes his mug across the pages of teen magazines, Zac Efron is your typical American kid. He enjoys his time with his family and pets, likes to hang out with his friends, and has fun working on restoring old cars.
For more pictures see our Zac Efron Photo Gallery
Includes exclusive photographs from "The Derby Stallion" and scans from "Popstar" magazine.
- - - Article and interview are © Young Star News - - -
Zac Efron at IMDb
"The Derby Stallion" at Young Star News