In 2015 Zac Efron is almost dead. He was the first ever guest on the Running Wild With Bear Grylls program , where Grylls taught celebrities how to get by in extreme situations. Efron was supposed to jump out of the helicopter, but a parachute cord twisted on his ankle, “as I was falling to the ground, I thought my life was ending,” he told Josh Dean of Men’s Journalcommenting on the story. «But I would do it again. I don’t know what Grylls knew about me or my job, but I was so grateful that he didn’t judge me like others did. ” Zac Efron, pure insecurity, a desire for acceptance by an audience that continues to link his image to the proto-Bieber, almost-Jesse McCartney haircut. And it is in this path towards a complete transformation, from teen idol to adult man, different, what we have never wanted to see of him, that fits the new eight-episode Netflix docu-series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron , in which the actor crosses the world in search of alternative life models, renewable energy, new strategies to live better.
Iceland, Costa Rica, France, also arrives in Sardinia (the episode was shot between 2018 and 2019) to know the secret of the centenarians who live in Seulo and Aritzo, shakes hands with Mrs. Liliana, is moved, I would like to continue to listen to his way of saying “pane carasau”, which becomes “penis caresao”, at least for the next four days. With the attitude of a young American student who lives in Italy, he moves through the streets with his friend “wellness expert”, Darin Olien, meeting doctors, scholars, Mario, Pino. “I learned so much here, including the secret to a long and healthy life,” says Efron at the end of the episode, and the point is not to believe it or not, considering that during his 32 years he never seems to have shown a lot of interest in eco-friendly life, and that his comments boil down to “Oh wow, bro” – if we were to have a shot every time he says it, we wouldn’t get lucid on the second episode – the point is the real motivation behind it. The show is in fact the perfect culmination of a shift in his image, which began a few years ago and perpetrated by other actors before him. When we realized that Zac Efron had grown up, his beard had come. Who also knew how to make people laugh.
Unlike DiCaprio, the former teen idol par excellence who has managed to definitively free himself from the attachment to a single role, Jack Dawson, in view of his acting skills, his personality (his documentaries on the environment are famous, The 11th Hour , Cowspiracy , he believes it), Zac Efron has always been uniquely Troy Bolton. Who in High School Musical fell in love with the most arrogant of the school, hopping over a golf course singing “Ben On It” in HSM2 , with his face reprinted in a myriad of different versions and offered cyclically by Cioè or Top Girl , he dressed the rooms of girls who in 2006 were 12 years old. After Hairsprayin 2007, she starred in 17 Again, abandoned the Footloose remake to avoid remaining a typecast, identified as a single character, and tried: anything. Dramas like Parkland , thrillers like Paperboy , indie experiments ( We are Your Friends ) and vulgar ( That embarrassing moment ), and then, finally, comedies like Baywatchof 2017, in which his character was given the funniest scenes. It was called “High School Musical”, “Bieber”, “Malibu Ken”, “One Direction”, only someone with a great sense of humor would endure such a meta-butt. In 2014 the real Efronaissance began, with its role in Bad neighbors. “I know what you think of me,” he said to the director, Seth Rogen, “everyone thinks it. I know you don’t like me, but I’m not like that ».
It has already happened, and if we have not heard it, read it, we have perhaps imagined it empathically, “I am other”, “do not frame me in a role that is only cinematographic”. It happened in the case of ex teen idol like James Franco, by Daniel Radcliffe who after Harry Potter decided to interpret a corpse in Swiss Army Man and to go almost exclusively to the great theater, Elijah Wood, launched in Hooligans , Everything is illuminated , I Don’t Feel at Home Anymore , opting for special and alternative films, goodbye Frodo Baggins. Robert Pattinson, who has repeatedly said that he wants to act only in the films he likes, and that in fact lately has passed peacefully by Good Timeof the Safdie brothers at Robert Eggers’ Lighthouse . Like Zac who – here is the only discriminant – does not have their own artistic ambitions, but has made every post High School Musical film a total reinvention, with the evident, so human effort, to like us for what it really is. A walking contradiction, misunderstood, as a child, he told Men’s Journal , “my distinguishing feature was that of being the lowest. But I wanted the others to consider me one of them, and so I joined the basketball team. ” Throughout the season, he scored only one point.
A matter of perception: this is the main problem with former teen idols. Our impression, and above all conveyed by the media in the same way as it happens for actresses, considering them from an aesthetic and not intellectual or personal point of view – as reported by Vanity Fair Us , every time a new film with Zac Efron is presented, the women who act together would be asked questions like “did he try with you?”, “how was it acting next to someone so beautiful?”, and to him information about the diet (many would also have criticized the physical change of the actor, “is no longer sculptural,” wrote the New York Post). And instead Zac Efron, Radcliffe, Franco, Pattinson are not only this, they are showing it. Historically, Corey Haim, a lost ex boyfriend, vulnerable forerunner, complex and opposed by his own roles, also tried to become an anti-Reaganian icon with The Rollerboys gang . Towards the middle of the episode shot in Sardinia, Zac Efron meets some girls who ask him for a photo. “After talking to the elderly, it is right to dialogue with the new generations”, and adds “a reminder: never take people for granted”, never stop to look only at what we want to see.