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OMG, It’s Zac Efron!

OMG, It’s Zac Efron! (photo)

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Between his roles in the Broadway musical adaptation “Hairspray,” two seasons on the WB series “Summerland” and the unholy Disney Channel trilogy “High School Musical,” blue-eyed, pert-nosed actor and singer Zac Efron’s become a heartthrob to young girls en masse. Now just 22 years old, he’s begun to diversify in his career pickings, following up this past spring’s studio comedy “17 Again” with the Richard Linklater-directed period indie “Me and Orson Welles.”

Based on Robert Kaplow’s novel, the film stars Efron as Richard Samuels, an ambitious teen actor who weasels his way into a 1937 Broadway production of “Julius Caesar,” directed by a megalomaniacal, temperamental genius: yes, one mister Orson Welles (rivetingly played by Christian McKay). As Richard becomes smitten with a tough-minded production assistant (Claire Danes), he learns that both love and success have their complications, but at least he gets to sing. By phone, Efron spoke with me about him and Orson Welles, the worst part about being in a period piece and the odd pressures of being a tweenybopper idol.

In “Me and Orson Welles,” you ask Claire Danes’ character what it’s like to be a beautiful woman. So, on behalf of your squealing girls everywhere, what’s it like to be so dreamy?

[laughs] What’s it like? I don’t know. It’s not tangible, really. Anything you say here is kind of weird. It’s just the way that it is.

I’m being cheeky, but seriously, you’ve achieved a high level of success at such a young age. At 22, I certainly didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Do you feel like you won’t even be able to process some of these experiences until later?

Yes, most definitely. It’s been a whirlwind couple of years, a very exciting time. I feel like I’m in the height of living, and I’m just absorbing everything. That’s one thing that I’m addicted to at this point, having those achievements and raising the standard. That’s the best part of it all is that it’s growing, and there’s still room to grow.

But I’m sure there are some added pressures that come with fame, like with your appearance. I imagine you’re forced to look absolutely fabulous just to leave the house, while the rest of us can unashamedly run errands in any grubby old thing.

Yeah, there are small things you definitely miss. [laughs] The thing about it is if you comment on it, or talk about the negativity around it, it’s not really comprehensible to anybody. It’s one of the weirdest things to talk about with friends or family or anyone, to be honest.

There are little things you have to forgo. If you walk around in sweatpants and don’t shave or shower, or look a bit sleepy, there’s a high probability that there are going to be rumors out there that you’re on drugs or starting some sort of spiral downhill. So I’ve always tried to look my best, and look clean when I go outside. I think I owe it to everybody to show up well-groomed and put in a little effort. It’s the least I can do.

11252009_zacefron7.jpgThis film seems like a logical first step in transitioning to, for lack of a better term, an adult career. How self-conscious are you in planning out what you would like to do next, or five years from now?

You know, that’s a question I’ve been getting a lot recently. It’s like this is a chess game: “What are your next three moves?” Everybody wants to know, as if I’m looking that far down the line, or have some kind of strategy. But it’s really not the case at all, man. It’s more like surfing. I’m just riding it, not planning anything. I’m trying to follow my heart.

My judgment of what is a good film is developing over time, especially the more I work with great directors. I think the transition will come naturally, and I want it to come that way. I’m not going to calculate five moves to fame. To me, success is not victory. I’m trying not to let it become something that ever influences my decisions. In my mind, I’m not successful.

If you could pick any actor’s career of today or yesteryear, whose would you most like to emulate?

I guess Johnny Depp. Someone told me recently, “You should be like Johnny Depp and do something to change your image, something dark and messed up so people take you seriously.” I don’t think that’s what he did at all. He found a brilliant creative partner and mentor in Tim Burton, collaborated and came up with fantastic characters and great movies. I think that’s where I am right now, searching for that mentor. Not that I could ever try to copy those guys.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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