Zac Efron may have initially become a star due to his preposterously good looks, but that can’t sustain an actor forever, and he’s gradually been taking on more challenging roles. In fact, the director of his latest movie, Stephen King adaptation Firestarter, has suggested that it will reveal a whole new side to him.
The story revolves around Charlie McGee, a young girl in possession of powerful pyrokinetic abilities, who along with her father Andy is on the run from a clandestine government agency charged with developing psionics in people to use as weapons and have sent agents after the pair, in particular a Native American hitman who becomes obsessed with Charlie and her growing powers.
Efron is set to play Andy, and director Keith Thomas has recently spoken of the potential for the role to alter how moviegoers perceive the maturing actor.
“He’s in his early thirties now. So he’s a different guy, and I mean, he’s the same guy, but a different guy. And I think this is the kind of role that he can kind of really shift gears in terms of the way that he’s portraying himself and kind of the way we’re looking at him.”
Most of Efron’s part have put him at some point along a spectrum that many people would consider ‘young,’ be it a high schooler, a college frat boy or a partying twentysomething. As such, seeing him as a father will certainly be new for audiences, least of all because at the age of 33 he’s not long been old enough to convince as one.
Efron has already played with viewer perceptions, of course, especially with Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a biopic where he portrayed notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, while a particularly infamous scene in sleazy crime drama The Paperboy threatened to overshadow everything else about the film.
Firestarter is yet to begin shooting, but Thomas’ belief in Efron’s ability to challenge audience expectations of him speaks of his confidence in the performance the actor will give, adding a further facet to an already swiftly growing litany of capabilities.