Zac Efron

Zac Efron

In Tom Gormican‘s Are We Officially Dating?, three friends in NYC agree to stay single while, hold onto your butts, they begin falling in love. Damned love! Always cropping up when it’s the least convenient. Like when you’ve just signed a blood oath to keep things loose! According to Deadline Hollywood, Zac Efron is set to star in the romantic comedy being produced by TreeHouse Pictures. Gormican is an unknown entity, but the script did end up on the Black List, which counts for something. Maybe it’s a trenchant and hilarious exploration of humanity in the context of young sexual politics, but the log line is double plus generic. It’s every romantic comedy of the past 3 years – a way to create a false, virtually consequence-less barrier to people just going ahead and being in love. At the very least, Efron is breaking his own mold a bit – appearing in the insanity that is The Paperboy and the Ramin Bahrani flick At Any Price. Maybe this is that natural next step.    

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The Paperboy Movie Lee Daniels

Now don’t tell me that when you heard that Precious director Lee Daniels was directing a film about a love-crazed lady (played by Nicole Kidman) who is obsessed with a man on death row (John Cusack) that you thought, “yes, this will be fantastic and insightful and awards-worthy and dramatic and searing.” You did? But then you heard that Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron were co-starring as brothers who investigate the potential wrongful conviction of Cusack, who also get mixed up with Kidman, and it’s all kinds of wacky and crazy and embarrassing and you changed your mind? No? Really? But then you heard that Kidman pees on Efron in an act of love at some point in the movie and you remembered, “oh, yes, Lee Daniels. Hack.” Good. That said, wow, can The Paperboy arrive in theaters now? The film’s first trailer is positively off the wall, the sort of marketing that includes review pull quotes that include words like “pulpy,” “sweaty,” and “down and dirty” in order to sell the film. And while Kidman doesn’t urinate on Efron in this first trailer, it just might contain a glimpse of her face while in the act (in other news, can you believe this movie?). Check it out after the break.

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Author Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel, “This is Where I Leave You,” is all set to become a feature film over at Warner Bros., and the production is getting the cast to prove it. The book, which details a down-on-his-luck man’s week of insanity as he’s forced to live in the same house with his estranged mother and siblings for seven days, has been adapted into a screenplay by Tropper himself, and is set to be directed by Rock of Ages director Adam Shankman. The main character, Judd, has a wife who has just cheated on him with his boss, a boss who has just slept with his wife, a mother who has just lost a husband, and three neurotic siblings that he must spend a week with, due to his dying father’s last request. Needless to say, this one is going to be an ensemble piece, and Shankman has just kicked the casting process off with a bang. Deadline New Rochelle reports that Jason Bateman has signed on to play the lead role, Zac Efron and Leslie Mann have come on as two of his siblings, and Goldie Hawn is set to act for the first time since 2002’s girl power dramedy The Banger Sisters as the family’s matriarch. If you’re keeping track, that means that there’s still one sibling, a wife, and a boss that’s left to be cast, so before everything is all said and done this movie could become even more star-studded.

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The Paperboy Movie Lee Daniels

For a long time heavy-weight director Pedro Almodovar attempted to bring an adaptation of Peter Dexter‘s excellent novel “The Paperboy” to the screen, and a cursory glance at the story details of that novel confirm exactly what promise the Spanish auteur saw in that potential project. The book focuses on the case of death row inmate Hillary Van Wetter, convicted for the death of a local sheriff who murdered his cousin, and whose romantic relationship with letter-writer Charlotte Bless leads to the involvement of two investigative journalists from Miami who look into the possibility of Van Wetter being innocent. Without wanting to give away too much, as the book progresses, all is not what it seems, leading to a catastrophic ending. It seems that Almodovar was not the man to bring a film version of The Paperboy to life, and Precious director Lee Daniels stepped in to offer his own take on the story, investing a good deal more social outrage and shifting the focus onto the younger brother of one of those journalists. Zac Efron plays that brother – Jack Jansen – a former swimmer kicked out of college for an angry act of vandalism, and Matthew McConaughey his elder brother Ward, who enlists the help of writing partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) to investigate Van Wetter’s (John Cusack) innocence, at the behest of local vamp, and regular inmate letter write Bless (Nicole Kidman).

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Multi-hyphenate Josh Radnor has had a real nice time at the Sundance Film Festival. His debut film, happythankyoumoreplease, premiered at the festival in 2010, and he just brought his second feature, Liberal Arts, to Park City this past January. Both films star Radnor as a shiftless twentysomething who is, for a variety of reasons, unhappy with his current lot in life. But whereas happythankyoumoreplease tended to feel too twee, too naval-gazey, too unformed, Liberal Arts showed a tremendous progression in Radnor’s talents and execution. And now you can see it, too! IFC will release the film just in time for back to school on September 14 of this year. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, and Zac Efron, and should be the perfect way to ease back into fall drudgery after the fireworks of the summer season.

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The Reject Report - Large

A chimpanzee, Zac Efron, Steve Harvey, and Katniss – Not Jennifer Lawrence – all have their palms on a brand new Dodge Challenger. Hemi. The last person with their hand on the car wins it, and, unfortunately for Katniss – Still not Jennifer Lawrence – who could afford 10 Dodge Challengers right now – the game’s been going for four days straight. She’s exhausted. The other players are all fresh, and a few of them have heavy fan support. Who will walk away with this magnificent car or the claim of #1 at the box office if you’re into the whole analogy thing? One things for certain. The chimpanzee was already distracted by a low-hanging branch. Let the contest begin.

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The latest cinematic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, The Lucky One is a messy, tone-deaf, and laughable movie outing, an embarrassment to director Scott Hicks (Shine, The Boys Are Back), a black mark against Zac Efron‘s attempts at becoming a romantic lead, and an unsurprising continuation of Sparks’s ceaseless attack on what passes for a love story these days. Let’s put it this way – The Lucky One is so dismal, so off-kilter, so nonsensical that even the ever-ready charms of Zac Efron cannot redeem it in the slightest. At its heart, the film hinges on one of Sparks’s most ludicrous conceits yet – Marine Logan Thibault (Efron, more bulked up than ever, yet still unable to even resemble a professional solider)  is “rescued” by a picture of an unknown woman during his third tour of Iraq, a laminated picture of a pretty girl that catches his eye and pulls him away from a structure that blows up right behind him. If he hadn’t gone for the picture, he would be dead – the girl in the photograph saved him. At least, that’s what Logan thinks and what The Lucky One rests on. Convinced he owes some debt to the girl in the picture, Logan embarks on a quest to find her once he returns to the States.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr grabs his camcorder and tries to find the biggest all-night party in Pasadena, filled with slutty, dancing high school girls who looks amazingly like they’re in their early twenties. Of course, he never finds that because this sort of 15-year-old wet dream fantasy doesn’t exist. So he sets his sights on finding something far more realistic than any of the events that take place in Project X: the short, hairy peanut with a mustache and Danny DeVito’s voice known as The Lorax.

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Everyone involved in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, from co-directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda to the Universal Pictures marketing division, has been faced with a tricky balancing act. On one hand, there’s the need to remain true to the spirit of Seuss’ anti-consumerist work, his most earnestly activist effort. On the other, there’s the requisite allegiance to 3D animated family movie standards and the obligatory corporate tie-ins that come with promoting such an effort. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen Seuss’ mystical mustachioed creation across the advertisement spectrum lately, in everything from IHOP ads to printer spots and Mazda car commercials. Sure, Universal has made a point of pursuing advertising partners with “green” tie-ins/messages, or so they claim, but the Lorax’s ubiquitous commercial presence leaves the sort of rotten taste that only comes with the betrayal of a sacrosanct legacy. Fortunately, the film itself fares better. It’s a pleasant, minor-key affair that gives appropriate attention and weight to the important environmentalist message. The picture asks that its young viewers sit up and take notice of the world around them; it demands that they put down the video games, learn to care about nature and seek to preserve it.

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In The Paperboy, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey play reporters from Miami hired to prove the innocence of a death row inmate (John Cusack). The woman who hires them is the highly sexual Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) who has fallen in love with the inmate despite never meeting him. She’s convinced he should be free, and that they should be married. The movie is based on the novel by Pete Dexter (who wrote the screenplay), and it’s being directed by Precious helmer Lee Daniels. With one Oscar-nominated film under his belt, it will be interesting to see if he shoots for a second. It will also be interesting to see if they keep the harrowing ending to the novel, because if they do, things are about to get a lot darker. A new poster for the film is making the rounds, and it’s the kind of artwork that makes most poster artists seem lazy (as if they need help). It’s a fantastic throwback style with a little too much eye-liner. Check it out for yourself:

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Here’s something sort of bizarre – director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate‘s latest star-crammed desecration of random, non-religious holidays is not monumentally or irremediably terrible. It is also not good, but it’s certainly better than its predecessor, the rancid Valentine’s Day (though that’s not saying much). New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a gimmick – tons of stars! lots of plots! all kind of connected! just one day! – and such a gimmick can yield some unexpectedly positive results just as often as it can ending up being simply terrible entertainment not worthy of being called cinema. New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a two-hour piece of wish fulfillment for the sort of people who read US Weekly on, well, a weekly basis. Unlike Valentine’s Day, its very existence is not offensive, but it’s bloated and kind of boring and really, just really, tremendously unnecessary.

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It was the summer of 2009 when the filmmakers behind Horton Hears A Who! announced they would be making green eggs and ham of Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax.” Since then we’ve gotten updates on casting – with Zac Efron playing the young man and Danny DeVito voicing the title tree-hugger – and even some imagery. Today, EW has even more pictures, and two of them reveal The Once-ler (the crotchety pair of arms that tells young Efron about the lush, beautiful world of the past that was destroyed by his greed). Check them out for yourself:

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The horror…the horror… The best part about this poster for New Year’s Eve is either that it features all of the names and pictures of the actors, but not in the same order, or that the catchphrase “Let The Countdown Begin” lets us know that it’s a Doomsday Movie. Garry Marshall, who should be ashamed of himself for directing Valentine’s Day, proves once and for all that he owes some serious men down at the race track by stepping up to direct this sequel which seeks to squeeze even less screen time out for even more famous faces. Also, Homeless Hector Elizondo is kind of cruel considering they made everyone else look halfway decent (except for Ashton Kutcher who clearly didn’t show up for a photo shoot and forced the marketing department to find a paparazzi shot of him smiling). Enough with the words! Check it out for yourself, and feel free to largify it by clicking (if you dare):

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If the multiple storylines, loose connections, and a total lack of chemistry of Valentine’s Day was simply not enough for you, director Garry Marshall has yet another holiday-themed film for the masses – twice the storylines! twice the loose connections! twice the total lack of chemistry! Wait, that math isn’t right. Even less chemistry! Everyone, meet New Year’s Eve. Like last year’s chillingly empty Valentine’s Day, Marshall’s latest film tracks a group of romantically challenged love losers across the course of one holiday. Will they find love? Will I hiss in the theater again? When is he making Flag Day? New Year’s Eve moves the action to New York City, though it inexplicably features two stars of VD (Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel) who appear to be playing totally different roles than in the previous film. If that hints at some sort of alternate universe, well, that’s still not very interesting to me. The really strange part about this trailer is the sense it gives off that all of its many stars were thrown into a blender, set to “frappe,” and poured out onto the pages of the script. How else can we possibly account for a film that pairs up Katherine Heigl with Jon Bon Jovi, Michelle Pfeiffer with Zac Efron, Lea Michele with Ashton Kutcher, or Jessica Biel with Seth Meyers? And that’s only about a quarter of the cast, everyone else flew by so quickly that my own mother could be in this film, and I wouldn’t […]

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Looks like there’s going to be a new R-rated movie about frat houses and the hijinx inherent in the ridiculous notion of a bunch of 19-year-old dudes living together in one big building. Here’s how the story has developed so far. First, a couple of guys named Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien wrote a script for the movie. It’s about a regular-guy family man whose house is unfortunately located directly next to a local college’s alpha male fraternity house. This, of course, leads to him coming into conflict with the young, party happy frat boys, and presumably some tale of living, loving, and learning results. After putting pen to paper, the writing duo then pitched the project to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, those guys behind Superbad and Pineapple Express and whatnot. They liked it and attached Rogen himself to star as the family man of the film and High School Musical’s Zac Efron as the head frat guy.

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Over the last few years Ramin Bahrani has slowly become one of my favorite working filmmakers, and just with the release of three features. I thought his 2005 effort Man Push Cart was an interesting story that showed a lot of style and managed to accomplish quite a bit while still taking a minimal approach to filmmaking; but it didn’t quite connect with me on a deeper level. In his second feature, when Bahrani took his unique form of small, anti-cinematic character study and pointed it at the young Alejandro in 2007’s Chop Shop, I found myself to be deeply affected by the characters introduced and the naturalist way that Bahrani is able to build emotion and intrigue by doing very little, and create beautiful imagery without being in the least bit showy. 2008’s Goodbye Solo was even better, a filmgoing experience that I found to be truly sublime. So what the heck is this micro budget indie filmmaker doing casting Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid in his next movie? Up to this point everything he has done has employed mostly unknowns, so seeing these two Hollywood names get attached to something he’s doing comes as a pretty big shock. Quaid I can kind of accept. If Bahrani is dipping his toe into the waters of making studio films, then Quaid is a performer who I can see him going after. Despite the fact that he makes a lot of crap, like The Day After Tomorrow, Legion, and G.I. Joe, […]

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We reported last October that Danny DeVito would be suiting up to voice The Lorax in what has the chance to be the first 3D adaptation of a beloved children’s character that doesn’t creep everyone on the planet out. Now, the rest of the cast is filling out (according to a remarkably well-punctuated press release) with Ed Helms voicing the Once-ler who needs to cut down the forest to make an amazing product everyone needs; Zac Efron voicing Ted, the young man who befriends the Lorax; and Taylor Swift voicing Audrey, the girl of Ted’s dreams. Betty White and comedian Rob Riggle are also rounding out what looks like a solid cast. This flick could turn out being really fun with the names involved. So fun that Rob Hunter even got a Lorax tattoo in anticipation of the release. Just ask him.

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The Akira remake news train is going to keep plowing forward – so far speeding over Zac Efron, the potential audience and now veteran actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman is rumored to be circling around the role of the Colonel – a vital component in the story. He’s the closest thing to a father figure the plot has, and he does experiments on a young man that result in turning him into a giant globular monster. Warning: if you don’t like hearing negative things about Morgan Freeman, do not read on.

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The ups and downs of getting a new version of Akira to the big screen have felt a lot like a rollercoaster (pardon the cliche), and like any rollercoaster, here’s the part where we all throw up at the end. First it was Leonardo DiCaprio taking the lead role as Kaneda, and that died on the vine. Then we learned that the Hughes Brothers would be directing, it would be PG-13, and that the Hughes Brothers wouldn’t be involved in a pre-planned sequel. Now, it looks like the live-action version of the cult 1988 anime classic might be packed with Zac. Efron has been offered the lead role according to Bloody Disgusting, and there’s just no way to spin this positively. The whole project seems like a crew attempting to cash in instead of treating the source material with any love or relevance. Efron might have the role inside of him, but it hasn’t come out on screen so far, and his acting is usually bland. Does he have it in him to stop a young girl from getting raped? Or to stop fake-tanning long enough to live in the seedy, drug-infested world that this demands?

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It was inevitable that Zac Efron would eventually be sucked into the sappy world of the writer that continues to churn out schmaltzy crap while believing he’s the next great writer of Greek Tragedies. If there’s another actor out there better suited for the next Nicolas Sparks movie, I don’t know him. Which is probably a reason he should fire his publicist. Efron has signed on for The Lucky One where he’ll play – wait for it – a Marine who has been deployed thrice to Iraq and has lived through every tour, he believes, because of the good luck brought to him by a photograph of a woman he doesn’t know. Because it’s sweet, and not creepy, he tracks the woman down when he gets home.

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