LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "High School Musical" heartthrob Zac Efron will star in "Me and Orson Welles," director Richard Linklater's adaptation of a coming-of-age novel.
Set in 1937, the story revolves around a high school student (Efron) who, while strolling the streets of New York, happens upon the yet-to-open Mercury Theatre and is noticed by its mercurial founder, Orson Welles. The man lands a bit part in "Julius Caesar," the production that catapulted Welles to the top, and spends the next week learning about life and love.
Newcomer Christian McKay will play Welles. Ben Chaplin ("The Water Horse") has been cast as English film and stage actor George Coulouris. The independently financed film is based on the novel by Robert Kaplow.
With "Orson," Efron continues to show that he is more than a one-trick pony by rounding out his acting curriculum vitae beyond his "High School Musical" identity. The actor will return to shooting the role-reversal comedy "Seventeen" after he recovers from his appendectomy.
Efron will then shoot "Orson," a more mature piece of work, in mid-February and March in such locales as New York, London and the Isle of Man. He then returns to the franchise that launched him to fame, filming Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" feature in mid-April.