Rising star Efron sees film career at crossroads
By Mike Collett-White
VENICE (Reuters) - Zac Efron says his movie career is at a crossroads, and the former Disney teen idol is tempted more by less pay and hard graft than blockbusters and big bucks.
The 24-year-old, who became a household name in "High School Musical", was in Venice on Friday for the world premiere of "At Any Price", set in the cut-throat world of agriculture in which he plays Dean and Dennis Quaid his father Henry.
Efron's appearance on the Lido island across the water from the Canal City drew crowds of screaming girls begging for his autograph, and came a few months after he walked the red carpet in Cannes with another small-budget drama "The Paperboy".
Directed by Ramin Bahrani, At Any Price blends family drama with a searing attack on big business and chasing profits whatever the cost, as farmers in Iowa cut corners and cook the books in order to fulfil the mantra "Expand or Die".
"All I have, really, is the ability to look back at my elders and the people that I really respect in this industry, the actors that have been here before and really made an impact ... and I put myself in their shoes," Efron said.
"I sort of stand here with, say, two roads in front of me," he told reporters after a press screening of the film and ahead of its red carpet premiere at a glitzy evening gala.
"One (is) the easy path ... towards money and the other one being towards playing more interesting roles that I don't have all the answers to, or going with Ramin into the cornfields for a couple of weeks.
"It seems like the choice that I respect more. I'm following my gut here and this is what I want to be doing, you know. I'm hungry for it." Continued...