TORONTO – “Zac Efron, Oscar nominee” could be a real thing.
The star of the upcoming war drama “The Greatest Bear Run” forces his character into foxholes and bunkers in Vietnam, a fish out of the water with a bag of Pabst Blue Ribbon amid the war. And that’s when the former “High School Musical” heartthrob captures a gravitas that could get Academy voters paying attention.
Those scenes were also the most natural for Efron. “In the purest sense, it really ended the acting role. I didn’t really need to show off,” the actor told USA Today a few hours before the world premiere of “Beer Run” at the Toronto International Film Festival. That all-around feeling of war “is visibly rooted in me. I’ve never experienced anything like this. It felt real. I got a little taste of what it could be like. ,
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Directed by Peter Farrelly and based on the real-life adventures of John “Chick” Donohue in the late 1960s, “Beer Run” (streaming in theaters and on Apple TV+ September 30) stars Efron as a New Yorker with his friends. Thinking about the neighborhood serving as soldiers in Vietnam. With a negative bent about war, Chick decides to go on an epic adventure: take cans of beer from a local bar and travel abroad to deliver them personally to his friends. Of course, he thinks he’s out of his mind, and Chick realizes just how dangerous the situation really is.
When playing real-life figures like Chick and serial killer Ted Bundy in 2019’s “Extremely Vic, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” says Efron, 34, “there’s some added value in taking it seriously.” “There’s definitely at the front of your mind the importance of portraying the character so that Chick himself enjoys it and it’s something his family will love and be proud of and it’s honest and true from their accounts. It’s very, very important.” It happens.”
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Efron credits Farelli’s writing as a huge help, “weaving this very emotional, somewhat serious but at the same time humorous undertone with potentially dark subject matter. And he’s better than anyone I’ve ever done.” Have seen it. I knew this was the right place to take this opportunity.”
“Beer Run” is Efron’s second theatrical effort this year: He also starred in the indie survival thriller “Gold,” a transformative role that transformed his leading-man into a bizarre mass of sun-scorched flesh. “I really enjoy trying things outside of my comfort zone,” says Efron. “I love this craft.”
Farrelly’s last film, 2018’s “Green Book,” received two Academy Award acting nominations (and a supporting actor win for Mahershala Ali). With Toronto being a prime launching pad for a potential Oscar run, “Beer Run” gives Efron a real spotlight for his acting range.
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If the Academy knocks on their door? “I’ll probably call the police,” jokes Efron. “We are being raided. Am I being expelled from the country?” When it comes to awards, he doesn’t really think about it too much: “I love the idea of reaching high and trying to make great movies and rise up. So everything that happens outside of that is a byproduct of something you really love to do.
“It would be interesting (to be nominated), but really, the goal here is to make a good film that we are passionate about. That mission accomplished.”
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Although Farrelly doesn’t stress much about awards season, director Efron “would love” to see the Oscars strong idea as it deserves. His performance is impeccable.” Efron reminds him of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”: “He’s a flawed character who does some things wrong, but he always means the best, his heart is in the right place and He’s really easy to love.”
Efron next stars in “The Iron Claw,” a drama directed by Sean Durkin (“The Nest”) about a von Erich pro wrestling family. A few years ago, he learned that he “loves working with directors who have a vision” and that this has led to soulful roles where he can collaborate and experiment.
“It really strengthened me to work with Pete (on ‘Beer Run’) and build everything to this level of storytelling in filmmaking,” says Efron. “Who knows what the future holds, but for sure I would love to do more things like this. ,
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