Disney, Dancing Are Things Of The Past As Zac Efron Ditches ‘Footloose’

I of course couldn’t care less about the suddenly unclear future of Paramount’s scheduled Footloose remake, but I do care about the fact that Zac Efron will no longer headline it. Some harsh voices have said that this should be considered the final blow to a project that didn’t sound all that promising to begin with, but for Efron it’s just another career move. A Footloose-less resume will not make or break him as he tries to enter the Hollywood A team as something more than a formerly choreographed cutie.

Some of the reports are saying that Efron wanted out of Footloose because he was afraid of getting typecast as a musical actor, if he was to follow up his lead role in no less than three High School Musical movies, and a prominent supporting role in (the magnificent) 2007 Hairspray remake with yet another round of singing and dancing. But judging from other Zac news over the last couple of weeks, the decision could also be considered part of a broader effort to reintroduce him to both the business and the audience. As I touched upon briefly when writing about Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s gay turn in a post late last year, this is pretty much a natural impulse for actors who have come to fame at a young age. What sets Zac apart from others in basically the same position then, like JTT and 7th Heaven‘s Jessica Biel, is that Efron’s effort has not yet been spelled out publicly.

Those looking for signs that he’s interested in projecting an image at least partially independent from the clean-cut Disney Dude responsibilities of HSM and Disney Channel guest appearances of yesteryear, need look no further than to the photo series accompanying an interview he did with none other than in-house favorite director Gus van Sant for the most recent issue of Interview Magazine. Disappointingly, the excerpt provided on the magazine’s homepage doesn’t reveal anything interesting, other perhaps than van Sant’s slight disinterest in his subject (either that, or he’s simply so polite he makes it look he doesn’t know anything about Zac’s current career, in order to give him a chance to tell it all himself). That said, if I could find it, I would of course have camped outside my local news agent’s just to get my hands on a copy.

But the real story here is the pictures. Those who have never seen what I (and millions more) see in the guy probably won’t become Efronites overnight just because he was photographed with mud on his face, since he retains a certain softness no matter how hard he tries to communicate masculine hunkiness. But I sincerely doubt that was ever the point anyway. I suspect that even more important than proving to gay and straight audiences that Zac could easily pass as an incredibly beautiful mine-worker or grave-digger or anything else that involves getting his pretty face dirty in his future all-grown-up movie career, he wants people to pay attention to what he has his hands around in that last picture. It’s a woman, you see, and even though she’s naked, Zac seems to be having a reasonably good time. Hence, he’s neither gay nor a prude. Post-Disney mission accomplished?

I know, I’m probably overstating things a little here, but I’m convinced that the photo shoot and Footloose move are meant to signal that Zac is now ready to show another side of himself. Of course, if it looks anythings like these Dirty Half-Dozen, I’ll be closer to cooing than complaining.

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9 Responses to Disney, Dancing Are Things Of The Past As Zac Efron Ditches ‘Footloose’

  1. Smilie says:

    It’s always interesting when young actors try to “reinvent” themselves. While I like the photos and would be more than happy to sponge bath him, putting mud on his face just makes him a dirty pretty boy.

    I’m not sure if I could ever see him in a tough-guy grown-up role. Maybe he can do it, but I’m not sure if his acting skills are up to the challenge. If they’re not, hopefully he’ll be shirtless for more of the movie. :-)

  2. queerlefty says:

    Smilie, I agree completely, hehe. I seriously doubt whether he has the depths of real acting in him, but such petty considerations should probably never be part of the equation anyway. Bring him on, I say, and particularly if you bring his clothes off at the same time.

  3. queerlefty says:

    Update: Salon just made the exact same point, in a piece by Sarah Hepola. But what the hell do they mean with Miley Cyrus being one of those who made it? Doesn’t her Vanity Fair moment put her in pretty much the same position as Zac?

    http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2009/03/26/zac_efron/

  4. poeticgrin says:

    You’ve broken news here and broken my heart. I was actually looking forward to seeing Zac in Footloose. I’ve watched Zac since Summerland and was always a little shocked that he ended up being the success compared to Jesse McCartney, who, while I’m sure his bank account is golden thanks to his writing credit on “Bleeding Love”, isn’t quite in Zac’s league in terms of celebrity. I will be honest though. If I put the hottest aside, Pretty Boy Zac makes me gag. I want slutty, dirty Zac!

    This is also the first time I’ve seen these pictures. Whew, is it hot in here?

    So I’ll let go of Footloose and get in line to see his new movie that’s due out here in the next few weeks… 17 forever, or 17 again, or something like that.

    Great post, great comments, great pictures. Very entertaining. I still want him to do Footloose, though., just for sentimental reasons. That was my favorite soundtrack when I was very young… probably the first album I owned. I was too young to understand the concept of a soundtrack and thought the band was called “Footloose” (I’d never seen the movie) but I was confused as to why the lead singer had a different voice in every song!

  5. queerlefty says:

    Aww, I’m really sorry I was the one to bring you the bad news. I have no sentimental feelings towards the original ‘Footloose’ at all (for some reason I haven’t seen it to this day), so Zac was my reason to follow this project in the first place. Also, while I’m in awe of Zac’s general hotness, I actually do think he can sometimes be too pretty for his own good. So yes, no matter if it really makes him look more masculine or not, please send in the shovels.

    Since you mentioned Jesse McCartney, I have to admit that I’m sort of a (closeted) fan. Last year’s ‘Departure’ featured several great songs (‘Leavin’, ‘It’s Over’, ‘How Do You Sleep?’, ‘Told You So’, ‘Runnin’), but for some reason it didn’t resonate broadly.

    (I wrote a little bit about it here: https://welcometoallofthat.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/with-new-video-jesse-mccartney-is-leavin-me-breathless/)

    And, -not to shamelessly promote myself or anything :) – here’s what I wrote upon the release of the ’17 Again’ trailer last October: https://welcometoallofthat.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/move-over-matthew-perry-im-here-for-zac-efron/)

    Finally, what you said about the ‘Footloose’ soundtrack really had me laughing. The first music cassette (why do I suddenly feel old?) I picked myself was ‘Very’ by Pet Shop Boys (looking back, that’s sounds weirdly gay). After that, I believe it was ‘So Far So Good’, a best-of-compilation by Bryan Adams, and Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell 2’ (hehe, ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’, and all that). It probably was around 1994 or something. Not to run through my complete arsenal of sentimental anecdotes about early music experiences unprovoked, but I think my first CD was Aerosmith’s ‘Big Ones’, followed by ABBA’s ‘Gold’ and Bon Jovi’s ‘These Days’. I’m exactly proud of it, but I was only about ten years old, after all.

    Thanks for sharing, Bryan.

  6. He’s so gross. That is all.

    (You know how I feel about this dude. hehehe.)

  7. queerlefty says:

    He soo is not, hehe.

    (Etc., etc :)

  8. poeticgrin says:

    Oh man…. there we go again in our similarities. “So Far So Good” “Big Ones” and “Bat II” were very meaningful to me as well… and so was “These Days” – no one else knows that one, really! I loved “These Days” because I thought I was the only one that caught that the actually words “these days” were in many of the songs on the album and my 14 year old self (or 15?) thought that was very cool.

  9. queerlefty says:

    I have to warn you, you just opened a deep ire of nostalgia here. As far as I can remember, I bought the Bryan Adams compilation mainly because of (the still quite decent) ‘Please Forgive Me’, but I also think my mother had an old tape with his (mediocre) ‘Reckless’ album lying around. ‘Big Ones’ today mainly reminds me of ‘Cryin’, ‘Amazing’ and ‘Crazy’, singles off the ‘Get A Grip’ album, whose music videos sort of made Alicia Silverstone. Like Meat Loaf, Aerosmith today can only be appreciated for their obvious excesses (the whole idea of Steven Tyler, his extremely characteristic vocals etc.).

    I loved ‘These Days’ too. The song itself was actually kinda good, and at least quoteable in its plain-spoken existentialism (‘No one wants to be themselves these days/still there’s nothing to hold on to but these days’), but I guess I bought it for the lead single, ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ (with its somewhat cringe-worthy chorus: ‘If the love that I’ve got for you is gone/If the river I cry ain’t that long/Then I’m wrong, yeah, I’m wrong/This ain’t a love song’).

    My personal nominee for crappiest pop lyric of modern times, though, still has to be ‘I wish the stars up in the sky would all just call in sick/and the clouds would take the moon out on some one-way trip’, from ‘(It’s Hard) Letting You Go’. That was bad, even then.

    Thanks for basking in yesterday’s glory with me, anyway.

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