Posted October 1, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features
 
 

Zac Efron


Actor and teenage heartthrob Zac Efron and director Burr Steers talk about their latest film The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud,

Actor and teenage heartthrob Zac Efron and director Burr Steers swooped into London to talk about their latest film The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, released in the UK on October 8.

Q: You both have evident affection for
Charlie but he started out life as words on a page of Ben Sherwood’s novel, how
did you find your own way to Charlie St.Cloud and how did you come to inhabit
him as a character?

Burr: Well it was
actually Zac that bought me to Charlie!

Zac: Yeah I read the
script first and when I read it there were so many similarities between Charlie
and my own sort of philosophy. Early on when he’s about to go to school, which
is where I found myself a couple of years ago and when this all started to
happen, I had that sort of mentality that if I put my mind to it I could
accomplish anything and that was really the mantra that was responsible for me.
Also the relationship between the brothers; I thought it was very well written,
something that I had some personal insight into, some perspective on – I could
relate to Charlie and the story in
a lot of ways.

Burr: Yeah I had
worked with Zac before on 17 again, and when he talked about it, it was a part
that he could really inhabit he understood it and he felt it, and that was
exciting about working on it with him.

Q: It’s a film
that deals with what comes next, life after death. Just wondering if the film
has shaped your views on the afterlife – what happens after you die and what
those views are?

Burr: No …I still
don’t know, which I think is the great thing that you go through life trying to
figure that out and there is nobody that can tell you. But it is the big
question.

Zac: That just sound
cooler than anything that I’m going to say so I’m just going to second that.

Q: You
also kept it quite open in the movie about how to interpret it…

Burr: It was
something we had talked about – is this something that is actually happening to
Charlie or is it his mind showing him what he needs to see, you know has he
cracked it or is he imagining it.

Q: Given
some of the themes of the film, how important was it to have Field of Dreams
star Ray Liotta? and Zac how was it having your life saved on screen by him
rather than having it sent in the other direction as it has in so many other
films?

Zac: I will never forget
being in that scene, I just remember Ray saying “come on fight me man fight me”
and I’m like I don’t want to! He was really going for it with those paddles and
it was intense it was really cool to be willed to do more by him. I realised
that at the level Rays at there’s no inhibition – You know he’s totally not
afraid and I appreciate this. A very cool experience to be brought back to life
by Ray Liotta!

Q: He’s
probably quite relieved as well not to be doing the bad guy…to be playing a
saviour.

Burr: Yeah and
casting someone like that you know a tough guy in kind of a sentimental part, you’re
playing against what it could be
as opposed to being sort of a mushy role

Q: What
sort of roles do you like to take on?

Zac: As far as
growing up and picking roles I don’t really know, but I’d say this turned out
to be an ideal role. Working with Burr and figuring out Charlie’s character – I
wouldn’t change the experience for the world. But did I know before I read the
script? No not at all, so it’s like I can’t necessarily pin point, other than
really the sort of genre it would be in.

Q: …You
have to do everything before you can look back and say that was the ideal role,
you have to experience it first?

Zac: Yeah

Q: What
kinds of roles would you like to do in the future as an actor?

Zac: I don’t know…good
ones! I don’t know yet, there’s nothing that’s not appealing to me right now.
It’s just a matter of wrapping my head around it, probably ones that are a bit
scary.

Q: Have
you seen a ghost in real life? If so can you give us a bit of detail?

Zac: Only in
Disneyland, I haven’t seen any in real life, so I don’t have any details to
share right now.

Q: What was it like working with your younger
co-star Charlie Tahan, and does he remind you of your-self when you were
starting out?

Zac: He’s way
further along than I was

Burr: He’s further
along than any of us!

Zac: He really is,
the first thing within minutes of meeting him I remember…it’s so weird being
in an audition where I sort of figured out he was perfect for it… we were
outside the audition room, he’s got this really funny intelligent sensibility
about him.

Burr: Yeah

Zac: He’s super
smart and I had more fun times and conversations with him on-set than anyone
else.

Burr: We read with
hundreds of kids, and Zac read with him and it was really finding the person Zac
clicked with and he was younger than the character was written but they had chemistry
and really had that relationship.

Q: Zac, You’ve
recently started a production company and bought rights to a Swedish film is
that correct? I just wondered what it’s called and what do you plan to do with
it?

Zac: It’s called Snaba
Cash or Starter Cash and you know we were looking at all sorts of things but
trying to find something in the crime world. I really like the story because it’s a guy who for very
innocent reasons finds himself in over his head which just about explains
everything in my life at this point so I like that, and the movie was
incredibly well done. So we’re having a really great time right now adapting it
and making it more American…sort of.

Q: You
don’t really feel like you’re in over your head do you?

Zac: Ah yeah, well
sometimes, sure.

Q: Zac,
just going back to the film – you’ve got a great relationship with your
brother, do you ever get to the point of punching with him…I mean what’s your
relationship like with your brother?

Zac: We go way past
punching (joking). It got really serious at times. We would watch 3 Ninjas or
the Matrix.

Q: But what really is your relationship
like with him?

Zac: It’s good I
mean he’s 18 now and he’s going to college, I think the older he gets the more
he’s… well he’s just now like a real person to me again. All of a sudden he’s
not my little brother anymore…he’s just my brother you know, I don’t know we’re
in a different place and we’re starting to become even better friends than when
we were growing up.

Q: Just
going back to when you said you were in over your head can you tell us a bit
about what it’s like being you and being in such a big movie franchise?

Zac: I don’t know it’s
exciting, the stakes are high, and I’ve got a lot to learn. But at the same
time I feel hungry and ambitious and in no way does the task at hand feel
daunting, you know I’m just purely trying to navigate all the twists and turns
right now. I mean there’s never been a more exciting time and I learned a lot from
Burr in this Movie. Honestly I’m just excited about everything right now, with
the production company it’s like we’ve really got the ball moving

Q: Hi
Burr, I just wondered if Ben Sherwood had any direct involvement in the
production?

Burr: He’s a very
litigious man and he was on the set, he put so much in to the book and when he
came to the test screening he was actually crying because it had come that far which was really
gratifying .

Q: Zac you
probably get this question a lot I know I do, but do you think that being good
looking has held you back in your career?

Zac: You know what
it’s a big part of why I’m here and it’s a big part of why my fans come to the
movies but at the same time it just makes me more driven to get to people that
aren’t so easily swayed by that sort of thing you know what I mean!

Q: …do you
come up against that; I mean have you gone in to talk to somebody and known
that they have a pre-conception about you?

Zac: I used to get
in those conversations all the time but you know now I have this ugly beard so
it’s slowing down (laughs)

Q: Is the
beard for a particular reason or are you just relaxed?

Zac: It could be for
something I don’t know I’m just sort of testing it out, like how do you know what
it’s going to look like if you’ve never grown one and just to set fire to the
internet (everyone laughs)


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.