If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Okay, this has been on my mind lately and I figured that maybe I should finally talk about it. Lots of people rag on Zac Efron and like a lot of the Spill Crew, I genuinely think that he's talented especially after seeing 17 Again. He was actually really good in that and pretty much carried the movie with skill and charisma.
I absolutely HATED Zac Efron back in the day when he was doing all that High School Musical shit and I desperately wished that he would go away. Much to my disappointment at the time, after Hairspray, he blew up even more. It wasn't until the Spill Crew reviewed 17 Again and Me and Orson Welles that I started to think that maybe there was something to this actor besides the "pretty boy" aspect and the fact that he was getting all the girls' attention.
That was probably because I hadn't realized that those other people that hated Efron hated lots of other actors that are now considered some of Hollywood's best. I guess all of Hollywood's modern pop/tween stars had to start somewhere and then had to make a bold choice that could've risked or even destroyed their image and career. It never crossed my mind that people bagged on Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio or Heath Ledger back in their early days. It never even occurred to me that Shia LaBeouf was in the same sort of situation as Efron is now.
I guess every big young star has to go through something like 21 Jump Street, Cool World, Titanic and Romeo + Juliet, and 10 Things I Hate About You and the baggage that guys throw at you for it before they can do their Dead Man, 12 Monkeys, Gangs of New York, or Dark Knight. Even Shia LaBeouf has had some tormented character work in the independent film A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints which was vastly overlooked and forgotten.
Even a badass like Christian Bale started out with movies like Swing Kids and Little Women before he did mind-bending, bold, and daring roles like American Psycho and The Machinist. Yet another example of this is the wonder that is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I feel that a lot of people tend to forget that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had co-starred with Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You when he was a rising child star. While Heath Ledger got more attention, it got Gordon-Levitt notice as a teen star. It's only in the past five years that he's proven how incredible he is with Brick, Mysterious Skin, The Lookout, and obviously his two most recent name-making roles in (500) Days of Summer and Inception. As of now, I have not seen Zac Efron's new movie called Charlie St. Cloud but I plan to for a couple of reasons.
So, does Zac Efron have what it takes to be the actor that defines his generation like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Heath Ledger before him? Well, I say ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY!! People say that he needs to start straying away from the pop image and start doing bolder and darker roles like the four men mentioned above. I say that he has lots of time to do exactly that. Then again, I might be cursed if Efron tragically ends in a similar way to Heath Ledger but I have high doubts that that will happen to Efron because Heath Ledger's tragedy was a one-in-a-million thing that happens to young stars.
I say that he has lots of time because Johnny Depp made Dead Man when he was 32. Brad Pitt made 12 Monkeys when he was 32 also. Leonardo DiCaprio made Gangs of New York when he was 28. Heath Ledger made The Dark Knight when he was 27 or 28. Christian Bale made American Psycho when he was 26 and The Machinist when he was 30. Joseph Gordon-Levitt made Brick when he was 24, (500) Days of Summer when he was 28, and Inception when he was 29. So, the average age of an up-and-coming teen idol/actor to make that daring and sometimes dark and disturbing role and becoming a superstar is 28.5 years old. So, Efron has plenty of time to cater to his own audience for a while before he's expected to make any daring or bold decisions in picking a transcendant role that makes him the poster boy for his generation of Hollywood actors. Zac Efron's only 22 years old. So, I'm betting that we'll see that huge transcendant role in about 5-10 years from now. But, for now he'll just cater to his own audience because it's the safest move he can make for his career.
But ultimately, I think he holds the key to this generation of actors and I do think he'll become his generation's Brad Pitt. I also think that Shia LaBeouf will make his big transcendant role in the next few years. So, whether you like it or not, Zac Efron and Shia LaBeouf mainly hold the key to being the superstars of tomorrow and the leading men to watch of the future.