Zac Efron is looking to expand his audience beyond the teenage girls that made him a super star in Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ franchise. After a string of sappy romances and little-seen indie films, Efron appears to have struck gold with the #1 box office hit ‘Neighbors’ (alternately known as ‘Bad Neighbors’), alongside Seth Rogan. The comedy trounced ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘, as it was expected to, but by a larger margin than projected. Could action star be the next step in his career path?
Now comes word that the actor has been offered an unspecified Marvel role. It has been reported that he has been given a script to read, but neither the actor nor his agent will comment on which project it is for. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. Efron was at one point being considered for ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ but with the majority of that cast announced, it looks like Disney/LucasFilm passed on him. Well, in addition to Lucasfilm, Disney also owns Marvel, so it’s possible that Efron’s audition for ‘Star Wars’ may have led to him being considered for this new project. Also, this marks a return to Disney for the former teen star who basically grew up in front of the House of Mouse’s lenses.
Of course now let the speculation begin. Obviously, if there is a completed script, it’s a project that is set to begin production soon. So far, past ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, Marvel hasn’t confirmed any additional films, although ‘Doctor Strange’ has been heavily rumored. (Well, so has ‘Black Panther’ but I think we can scratch that one off the list.) On the other hand, however, Efron is still playing college-age characters. It’s not likely he can pull off playing a successful surgeon, but then again, baby-faced Miles Teller is playing Mister Fantastic, so who knows how they’ll spin the Sorcerer Supreme? (Speaking of which, Efron’s last movie ‘That Awkward Moment’ has just arrived on DVD/BluRay and co-stars Teller and Michael B. Jordan, both of whom are headlining the ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot.)
Another possibility to consider are the four and a half new Netflix series, including Daredevil and Iron Fist. (Once again, I think it’s safe to rule out Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.) Efron danced up a storm in the ‘High School Musical’ movies and ‘Hairspray’. Does he have the physicality to master the martial arts moves to portray either Matt Murdoch or Danny Rand? Either option seems more likely than Doctor Strange, but who knows? Also, Efron is essentially a movie actor and the success of ‘Neighbors’ reinforces that. Would he be willing to “step down” to not only do a TV series, but one that doesn’t even actually air on TV? (Not to scoff at Netflix. ‘House of Cards’, ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Orange Is The New Black’ have firmly established the streaming service as a force to be reckoned with.)
There is even speculation that Marvel could be planning to beef up its cosmic side of things once ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ arrives. So some are even throwing names like Quasar, Nova and Adam Warlock into the mix. But it’s all just speculation at this point.
It’s historically been a bit tough for pretty boy actors that emerge as teen heartthrobs to move past that image. (Just ask Taylor Lautner.) Does Efron have the chops to transition to grown-man comic book hero? What Marvel star would you like to see him play (if anyone)?