Hollywood actor Zac Efron thrilled his Filipino fans when he attended the Penshoppe fan conference held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last September 29, 2012.
During the program, Zac had a sit-down interview with TV host Boy Abunda regarding his childhood and his past movie projects.
PRANKSTER ZAC. Boy Abunda asked Zac to look back on his younger days, particularly the time when he was 12 years old. What kind of a kid were you?
The American actor told the crowd: “I was just like all you guys, I was a good student. I got good grades and I loved to sing and dance.”
When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?
“I think after I did my first play for a small community theater. The first time I got on stage and sang and danced, I think I found my calling. It was really what I wanted to do.
“It led me here today and I couldn’t be happier.”
Were you a naughty kid? What was the naughtiest thing that you did as a kid?
Zac flashed a wide smile and paused before answering, “I don't think I can say that...
“I was a prankster when I was a kid. I used to toilet paper houses. Do you guys toilet paper houses?”
The crowd cheered as Zac laughingly mimicked, “Everyone’s going, ‘Yeah!’”
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. A portion of the interview was then dedicated to Disney's hit musical TV and movie series High School Musical. In this youth-oriented movie, Zac played a basketball player who falls in love with an academically gifted student named Gabriella.
Boy asked: How did you get the role of Troy Bolton?
Zac recalled, “I'll never forget the day I auditioned for High School Musical. It was just like any other audition but it was more like theater auditions and there were about 40 guys and 40 girls. I met Vanessa...”
At this point, Zac paused as the crowd went wild when he mentioned the name of his former girlfriend, Filipino-American Vanessa Hudgens who was cast as Gabriella.
The blue-eyed heartthrob clapped his hands at the overwhelming response and emphasized, “Vanessa, my first Filipino girlfriend.”
He revealed: “We clicked right away.
“We had to sing, we had to dance, we had to play basketball. Finally, just me and Vanessa were left.”
Boy asked Zac to recall one particular sweet moment in High School Musical. In this scene set after New Year’s Eve, his character Troy sang to Gabriella, the character played by Vanessa. How did he attack this particular scene?
“Oh, the karaoke scene,” he recalled. At that point, the song “Start of Something New” was played. The Hollywood actor closed his eyes and started singing along with the ecstatic crowd. Zac clapped his hands and even pretended to hold a microphone as he swayed a bit in his seat.
What is his reaction to seeing girls singing that song? “I’m stoked! I love it! That was amazing. Thank you guys.”
How did he prepare for a role for a scene like that when he realize that he likes Gabriella?
“That for me was the easiest part. I was simply in the moment. I had a crush on Vanessa.”
When asked to talk about his 2007 musical film Hairspray, Zac pointed out: “Hairspray was really fun coz it was in the ‘60s. I watched the Broadway show over and over again. More than anything, I just practiced on those dance moves.”
Zac also mentioned that it was “a dream come true” for him to work with Michelle Pfeiffer and other A-list stars for the romantic comedy New Year’s Eve (2011).
In the romantic drama The Lucky One, Zac was cast as an ex-soldier in the movie adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same title.
Boy Abunda asked Zac if he found it difficult to shoot his love scene with Taylor Schilling.
“It wasn't difficult. We wanted to make it as real as possible. So we sort of made it real…I feel awkward talking about it,” admitted the American actor.