The year was 2006. The FIFA World Cup was held in Germany, Pixar released its worst ever movie in the form of Cars (which was later eclipsed by Cars 2), and Zac Efron became THE heartthrob of the moment following his swoon-worthy turn as Troy Bolton in the High School Musical franchise.
But rather than ride out that teen fandom wave before inevitably fading into obscurity, Efron defied all expectations and somehow punched through that squeaky clean Disney image to somehow become one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors today.
Here’s the big question though: how on earth did something like that happen? Like, we managed to figure out how Zac became peak man-hot (it’s his facial hair) but this investigation is another level altogether.
The High School Musical films weren’t exactly acting showcases and it seems like Zac really wanted to make up for it by doing a heap of projects that seemed left field for a former Disney heartthrob.
We’re talking about a wide range of genres, like romantic-dramas such as The Lucky One and Charlie St. Cloud:
Indie dramas like Liberal Arts, Me and Orson Welles, and The Disaster Artist:
Prestige Oscar bait like The Greatest Showman:
And comedies such as Baywatch, Dirty Grandpa, and Neighbours, which have featured some of his best work so far:
To be honest, a few of Zac’s movies were pretty rubbish but he was always the best part of them all due to his charm and, let’s be honest here, his looks. But he’s not just a pretty face, folks.
Looking through his filmography over the last few years, what we can also deduce is that he has a versatility not many actors can match. It’s not easy to be funny in a comedy, yet Zac has proved to be more than capable in holding his own against greats like Seth Rogen and Robert De Niro.
It’s not just comedy and romance either as Zac also has some pretty good dramatic chops these days. This is perhaps best demonstrated by his disgustingly charming turn as the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, in the upcoming Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Who would’ve thought that the kid from High School Musical can not only pull off being self-deprecatingly funny but also some seriously tough dramatic roles that would get Oscar voters all worked up? If the Academy can award an Oscar to Rami Malek for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, then surely Zac is in with a good shot as Ted Bundy.
To be honest, this whole investigation was just an excuse to dig into what the deal is with Zac Efron besides the chiseled bod and immaculately sculpted face, but what we ended up is an appreciation for the guy’s work ethic and acting ability, which is something I never thought I would ever say or write.
When the material is strong, Zac is as solid as a rock. When the writing isn’t great, well at least you got a handsome guy in there to boost the review scores a bit on the strength of his looks and charm alone.
Now having said all of this about Efron’s acting ability, that doesn’t mean the urge to roast him has completely gone away so let’s remind ourselves that time he got a “YOLO” tattoo and proceeded to remind everyone that he too can be an idiot like the rest of us, albeit a very talented idiot.