By Fred Topel | Image property of Freestyle Releasing
Me and Orson Welles
Me and Orson Welles may have been the first Zac Efron movie not to debut at number one, but it wasn’t supposed to. It’s a smaller movie he chose to explore a bit more of his craft outside the high school, singing, dancing, basketball genres.
Zac Efron Talks Me and Orson Welles
“You know, we tried to do the musical version, but we couldn’t get the rights,” Efron joked. “No, it was different and it was a very unique opportunity for me at the time and it still is. I think it was something that just didn’t seem so cut and dry. It wasn’t an obvious decision. Even I was a bit surprised, and that’s very cool. I hope I can continue to maintain that and have those options. I mean, that’s why we do this, to grow, and try new things, and that was exactly what this movie represented for me. It came at the perfect time.”
Efron plays a young actor who gets to work in Welles’ famous production of Julius Caesar. “It seemed ambitious to make a film about Orson, because [director] Ric[hard Linklater] says we made a sort of a screwball comedy at times about Welles, which is something that he would have never done himself. He never would have made a screwball comedy, so we put him into a movie that he never would have [made]. I just thought that was so funny. Rick is full of those.”
The film was not Efron’s first encounter with the legendary filmmaker, however. “I was probably 16, and I worked with a director who said that his favorite movie of all time was Citizen Kane. As a wrap gift, he gave me the DVD and I was definitely fascinated by it and I thought that it was an incredible movie but I was probably too young to fully appreciate it at that point.”
Efron’s character learns a valuable lesson about dealing with Hollywood egos, and they don’t come much bigger than Welles. Fortunately, in real life, 70-some years later, it’s been easier for Efron.
“I think things have changed a little bit. I’ve never had an experience quite like that. I’d say it was reminiscent of a lot of my early theater experiences. It’s pretty cut throat, there’s always another kid on the sidelines ready to take your place, but never experience it quite like Orson, I don’t think.”