Zac Efron: goofball turned global teen idol

Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:25pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Zac Efron says he wasn't much into sports at school, had to be dragged to his senior prom and was really a bit of a goofball.

So becoming a global teen idol playing a basketball star who wins the heart of the prettiest girl in school in the blockbuster "High School Musical" series has been a shock.

"I never, ever would have dreamed it in a thousand years," Efron, 21, told Reuters. "I went to regular high school all the way through and acting for me was always treated as my hobby until I graduated."

Once he got started in Hollywood, there was no stopping Efron. His portrayal of Troy Bolton in the popular Disney series for three years has sparked Beatles-like mania among young girls around the world ahead of this week's opening of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year."

He dates Vanessa Hudgens, who plays his onscreen girlfriend Gabriella Montez, and it has only seemed to boost his heartthrob status and put a fairy tale spin on his own life in high school, which by his account was very ordinary.

"I was not really involved in sports. I wasn't a jock or a nerd. But there is a lot of myself in Troy. He's kind of a goofball," Efron said.

"In the movie, he is well liked for all the right reasons. I wish it was more like that in real life and then I would have been a stud in high school, which would have been nicer for me," he said, flashing a grin.

"High School Musical" began as a singing and dancing romp through teenage years in a 2006 made-for-television movie that eventually drew 255 million viewers worldwide. Then came a second TV movie in 2007, sold-out stage shows, concerts, theme park attractions and record-setting sales of DVDs.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Zac Efron poses at the premiere of the movie "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" at Galen Center in Los Angeles October 16, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>