Zac Efron was turning gay heads way before director Lee Daniels stripped him to his skivvies for the pulpy, í60s-set southern thriller The Paperboy, which steams up theaters October 5. The High School Musical heartthrob is finally ready to return the love in his first gay press interview, which even he acknowledges is long overdue.
Itís good to see you return to your dancing roots with Nicole Kidman in the trailer for The Paperboy, but your moves seem to have gotten wetter and more naked
Believe it or not, that dance in the rain wasnít planned. Nicoleís fun to work with because sheís very improvisational. She just started dancing with me, and we went with the moment.
Surely you knew that scene would attract some prurient attention.
With a scene like that, you just have to stick with it and see where it takes you. After the fact, though, I remember thinking, Oh, jeez, what did I just get myself into?
Matthew McConaughey, your Paperboy costar, helped design his thong for Magic Mike. Did you help select your white briefs?
I did, yeah. Itís a period movie, so there werenít really a lot of choices. Initially, I wondered if my character would even wear underwear at all. But that wouldíve been a very different movie.
Youíve worked with other gay directors, including Adam Shankman on Hairspray, but Lee Daniels has often spoken about how much his ďgay sensibilityĒ translates to his work. In fact, at a press conference for The Paperboy in Cannes earlier this year, Lee even made light of a connection between his being his gay and your being somewhat eroticized on-screen. Did you have any reservations or did you embrace Leeís sensibility from the start?
Iíve always just embraced Lee as a brilliant artist, so I followed him blindly, trustingly, and wholeheartedly. Heís searching for beauty and truth in every scene, so I believed in him and always felt safe. I was a fan of Leeís work ó I thought Precious was so marvelous and real ó and I knew that he had a lot to teach me. All he required of me was that I be fearless, and thatís something Iím really working on right now in my career.
Screen grabs of you in wet undies made quite an impression in the gay blogosphere, but your presence on gay blogs is certainly nothing new.
Itís very flattering. After High School Musical and Hairspray, Iíve always felt embraced by the gay community, and I feel incredibly grateful and honored. This is actually a very special interview for me. Iím extremely aware of the support Iíve gotten from you guys over the years, and itís amazing that itís taken this long to sit down and actually discuss it, but please know that it hasnít gone unappreciated. Iím so excited to be talking to you.
When did gay fans first come to your attention?
I really felt that support after High School Musical. I think the gay audience related to my character Troy, because it really was a story of embracing who you are, no matter how different you might be, and not being afraid to show it. Thatís a universal theme for everyone, but it specifically resonated with the gay community, and I felt very proud of that.
Do you remember your first interaction with gay people?
I started doing local theater so young ó I was 12 ó so to me, being gay was just another way that you can be. I never really had time to think about it or have any preconceived notions. I donít judge anyone and I never have.
Youíve said in the past that the older college kids who performed with your local theater were your first role models.
Absolutely. I mightíve been less aware of it back then, but without question I had gay role models.
After your involvement in last yearís Footloose remake fell through, fans worried that you might be done with musicals for good. Do you see more musical theater in your future?
Without a doubt, Iíd love to do Broadway. I actually canít wait to get back to musical theater. Thereís a part of me that wishes I could go do it right now, but thereís also a part of me that knows I need to tackle other types of acting opportunities first. I want to be a well-rounded, versatile performer. Until I master other things, it would be hard for me to get back to musical theater. But that will always be my home base and where I feel the most free, and itís something I will definitely do again, even it itís just for pleasure and personal fulfillment.
The Paperboy also marks McConaugheyís first gay role. Are you interested in tackling a gay character?
Iíd never take a role just for the sake of playing gay, but Iím always looking for a role thatís challenging, different, and entails some risk, so thereís no doubt in my mind that one of those characters will be gay at some point in the future. Itís always interesting to delve into unexplored territory, and that would be a new avenue for me. I definitely wouldnít be afraid.
In a 2008 Details profile, the writer brought up the subject of gay rumors, particularly as they related to blogger Perez Hiltonís online speculation about you. You replied, ďHonestly, if the worst he can say about me is that I'm gay, then I think I'll be fine. I can handle it.Ē That was a pretty cool and classy response.
Thank you. I donít like to live in fear about things like rumors and backlash to begin with ó thatís the way I was raised ó but I just canít see whatís so wrong about being gay.
Last year a number of blogs posted a picture of you wearing a FCKH8 T-shirt that read, ďSome Dudes Marry Dudes. Get Over It.Ē Unfortunately, it was soon revealed to be Photoshopped.
Yeah, that picture was fake, but a couple days after it went around, a fan sent me a shirt identical to the one in the picture. So now I do own that shirt.
Have you worn it?
Iím sure I have and Iím sure I will. Itís still hanging up somewhere.
So what are your thoughts on marriage equality ó and dudes marrying dudes?
Itís an issue that affects so many people in my life ó a lot of my close friends and some of the most influential people around me. I just want them all to be happy. It would make me so happy to see them able to live their lives and do what they want to do.
The word on the street is that you throw a mean party. Do gay friends make the exclusive guest list?
[Laughs] Youíre on for the next one.
Omg guys short story today Im goin home to my house and on the train I saw this blue piercing eye guy I swear I thought it was zac lol even people were kind of checkin him out he had the exact same face features Posted via Mobile Device