Charlie St. Cloud: Interview with Star Zac Efron

Zac Efron stars in "Charlie St. Cloud," directed by Burr Steers, and also starring Amanda Crew, Ray Liotta, and Kim Basinger. The film is being released by Universal on July 30.


When the producer handed him the script, Efron felt an instant connection to Charlie St Cloud.  He recalls: “There was a familiarity, a lot that I could relate to and a lot that I recognized in Charlie.  It reminded me of the way I connect to my younger brother.  I thought Charlie’s relationship with Sam was real and honest, and I admired the qualities that I saw in him.  I thought they were very heroic.”


Understanding Charlie


But Efron knew that portraying this complex lead would be a challenging exercise.  The actor notes: “It was interesting to step into Charlie’s shoes and play a guy who’s down on his luck, who feels numb and doesn’t think he has much to live for.”  He laughs: “I tend to play characters who are more energetic, full of life and dance a lot.  But Charlie is very different.  The role was a 180-degree change, and that was extremely exciting.”


Life between Two Worlds


Efron explains Charlie’s precarious situation of being able to live between two worlds: “Charlie doesn’t know if he’s insane.  All he knows is that for an hour every day at sunset, he’s able to hang out with his little brother again.  The ability to see Sam is a huge gift, but at the same time, it’s very much a curse.  He becomes very unsocial and a pariah in town.  He can’t interact with society anymore, because he’s got this weight that he carries.”




Efron has long admired the beauty of the sport, and he admits that he can now see how sailors become immersed in the sport.  Says Efron of his introduction to sailing: “Initially, it was difficult to learn.  There are so many factors that go into it.  It’s not just wind blowing into a sail and propelling your boat.  It’s incredibly precise.  One mistake, one lapse in judgment, and it can very quickly capsize.  I was shocked when I got out on the water in these small boats.  On the first day of sailing lessons, my instructor made a point of capsizing the boat.  The boat flipped over, and I was dumped in the water.  I was scared, but I also got it out of my system.”