Baywatch: Interview with Star Zac Efron

Tongue in Cheek Humor

Zac Efron: That was actually one of the more fun elements, reversing the male and female stereotypes that were on the original show. The original creators of the show worked a lot with us. They came to us with ideas, we bounced back with ideas and they were so open to everything. They really let us push the envelope. I thought that was pretty important to have that role switched up. And I really enjoyed being the conduit for that because it had to be done. If you take it seriously then you’re not cool.

Being Exposed on Internet

ZE: I just stay away from it as much as possible. I use it for news but I don’t really go and jump on the internet when I get home unless it’s for research, I stay off sites that would involve people like me being on there as much as I can.

Calling Names?

ZE: Dwayne had endless lists of names for me on the set.  I think that maybe five percent got shown over the course of the movie. But there was just one after another. There must be some website where they make up funny names about me that he was scrolling through on his phone. I have no idea. I know a lot of them he came up with on the spot. We would just keep going. Maybe he researched the night before. But he’s good, he’s dang good.

Becoming Real Man

ZE: I think I’m still waiting for that moment. I think if you’re really living your life to the fullest, not that you ever really reach your peak, you can be tested and fail and you learn and become stronger from it. I think if you have that outlook and wake up with that attitude every day then you’ll never reach your peak. You can do anything.

Achievement in Life?

ZE: I did a lot of improv when I was younger. I was a part of a team improv group that competed amongst schools. There was a regional competition. And if you won that you went to state. And if you won state you went to a national, where countries from all over the world would compete. And it was in Tennessee. And my team and I won that one year. That was a pretty cool moment.

Exercising and Preparing for Role

ZE: Of course. That was part of, as much a part of the character as anything. Brody has the farthest way to go in this movie in terms of, I guess, becoming a man, or a more selfless person. So he has a lot to learn. And I think in the beginning he is an orphan, the training and that aspect of it, I wanted to be accurate and to look like an Olympic athlete and so I started training like one. I trained my ass off. It was really, really hard. I still continue to train but I’m not doing two or three a day workouts anymore. And I’m not eating exorbitant amounts of food in pre-packaged boxes. I’m on a break for a while. Hopefully to lose weight for the next film.

Saving Others Lives

ZE: I think it’s very noble. My uncle’s a doctor. When I was growing up I got good grades I always thought it could possibly be in the cards, I could be good enough to be a doctor. It’s kind of like a dream job, saving people’s lives. Lifeguards do it too. It’s kind of cool. It’s fun to play heroes and those are real life heroes. I’ve been saved many a time so I’m incredibly grateful for it.

Being Saved

ZE: I was surfing in Hawaii and a gnarly set rolled in and I started getting pushed out towards the coral. And I couldn’t get under this wave and it just kept dragging me towards the rocks. And somebody swam out and grabbed my leash and before I knew it I was getting pulled in. this guy was paddling me out through the surf backwards and he took me to the beach. And he’s, you don’t come out here no more. And I was, thank you so much.

Taking Risks

ZE: That’s what you search for and seek out in life. And if you want to conquer something you have to face it. You fail all the time. But it’s not really a failure if you grow from that experience. I love bungee jumping. Did you ever see Bear Grylls? I was on his show. We did some crazy stuff on that. Just watch that, that’s what I do on the weekend.

Working with Dwayne Johnson

ZE: I’d want to know a little bit more about his policies I think. But I could tell you as a person there’s nobody more honest. He’ll tell it to you straight. He’s cool. He loves learning new things. He’s a very fun guy to be around. He’s capable of doing anything and everything. Anything he puts his mind to he can accomplish. I could definitely see him being a political candidate.

Greatest Showman Movie 

ZE: The musical is more in my wheelhouse. And specifically “Greatest Showman” I think is going to be very unique and very different. I’m very excited for everybody to see Michael Gracey, our director, in his first big motion picture and to be a part of that project because it’s very exciting. And Hugh Jackman’s just awesome.  We did lots of dancing and singing. It was a dream come true. It was like going back to theater camp. We went through pretty intense dance rehearsals. We had to make dancing not look like dancing.

How Much Improvisation?

ZE: It’s tough to tell. There’s always a version of what was on the page, And sometimes if you go off on a tangent and you don’t hear cut you just keep going. And sometimes those would lead us very far in this movie. And Seth would let us play and have fun. Some of the funniest things in the movie are actually when we would go past the dialogue and we’re trying not to laugh, just keeping the dialogue going. Seth is really great at that. But we had great foundation, the script was very funny.

Being Cast in Greatest Showman

ZE: I’ve known Michael Gracey for years. Actually we have an annual meeting. And he would always be on the brink of doing an amazing project. And it was so fun to hear him talk about his work. I thought he such an awesome guy. Pretty much from the get go we would sit down and realized we weren’t meaning for me to be in whatever film he was doing, we just liked each other. When the phone rang and his number came up this time I thought he was just going to say, let’s go out to lunch. And this time it was, Zac, would you be in a musical? And I was, with you? And he goes, yeah directing. I’m like, hell yeah, absolutely. Who else? He goes, Hugh Jackman. And I think I slammed and got out of my car and started dancing on the side of the road. He’s fantastic. He’s such a visionary. And the idea of working with Hugh was great. I’m still floating from that project, it’s really fun.

Dwayne Johnson Being Sexy:

ZE: He’s just like perfect in every way. In real life if you look in the mirror, there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect, you’re the Rock. What the heck. Where’d you come from? Alex earlier was saying even she had, I guess in her other film “San Andreas,” she had to be resuscitated by Dwayne. I guess they had to do a few takes of mouth-to-mouth. And she said, even his breath was like breathing pure air, cleaner air than the atmosphere. He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s a guy’s guy but he’s also just a good person and good to be around.