Teen idol Zac Efron stars in Orson Welles tale

Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:04am EST
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By Cindy Martin

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - U.S. actor Zac Efron takes another step away from the world of high school musicals that made him famous with a part in "Me and Orson Welles," which also features British newcomer Christian McKay in the title role.

In the movie, which hits British theatres on December 4, 22-year-old Efron plays a teenaged student who fortuitously stumbles into a minor role in the 1937 Mercury Theater production of "Julius Caesar" directed by the young Welles.

During one tumultuous week, he makes his Broadway debut, finds romance with an ambitious older woman and dares to cross the overbearing Welles in a coming-of-age tale.

The film is Efron's second release since he graduated from the successful "High School Musical" franchise which made him a teen idol, after he appeared in "17 Again" which came out in April.

"I'm definitely sad to see the end of it (High School Musical), but I think it's all about progression and growing and trying new things," Efron told Reuters on the red carpet of the new movie's European premiere in London late on Wednesday.

"This is definitely the next step in that journey for me," he added against a noisy backdrop of dozens of screaming fans.

"I can't wait for everybody to see this movie and hear their thoughts. Hopefully they can learn something from the film, a little bit about Orson Welles, the history of Broadway. It's pretty fascinating, it's a fun film."

For McKay, being chosen by director Richard Linklater to play the larger-than-life Welles came as a surprise.   Continued...

<p>Actor Zac Efron poses as he arrives for the British premiere of "Me and Orson Welles" at Leicester Square in London, November 18, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>