Emmanuel Itier: This High School Musical trilogy has been such a big part of your career and life. How are you planning on transitioning into more adult roles?
Zac Efron: Earlier in the year — actually, before High School Musical 3, I filmed a movie called 17 Again, playing like a 37-year-old guy in a 17-year-old body. That was interesting. Right after that, I’m in a movie called Me and Orson Welles, and that’s more of a drama. It’s set in 1937 about The Mercury Theater troupe putting on their production of Julius Caesar. So those are two different roles.
EI: While you were shooting this, was there a sense of savoring each and every day, because this will obviously be your last time on this project?
ZE: Yes, when we were filming High School Musical, we took every opportunity to kind of revel in the scenes and in the dances, because we knew that this would be the last time that we were all together in this capacity. So we were soaking it up.
EI: What are some of your most cherished memories of these three films?
ZE: I don’t know if you can put it all into one specific memory. It’s just been the environment. It’s been a very safe, fun, and creative place for us to work for the past three years, and it’s going to be pretty hard to leave that behind.
EI: Can you talk about when you knew you wanted to be an actor and how you went after that?
ZE: I had no idea that I wanted to be an actor. I went through high school just like all the other guys, and I didn’t really have any plans for my future, but this was kind of my extracurricular and my hobby. Various doors opened and I went through them, and I ended up here today.
EI: What level of input have you had in these films, as to who your character has been and how he’s grown?
ZE: I don’t know if I had more say. I think it was more that we had two movies as a background, and so our characters were pretty established by now and we didn’t have to do as much character-building as we did just finishing, essentially. We had the ability to actually reminisce, which is what you’re seeing in “The Boys Are Back.” We’ve never been able to do that before.
EI: What was the last scene you shot, and what was going through your mind when they said, “That’s a wrap”?
ZE: We were on the stage watching the curtain close on us, and this was where it all began for us. We did “Breaking Free,” “Bop to the Top,” and so many other musical numbers. That’s where it all started, and it was symbolic of our journey. We’ve come a long way as wildcats, but even more as individuals.
EI: What’s one of your favorite memories of Utah? You guys went to a Utah Jazz game, right?
ZE: We had courtside seats. We walked on the court and Corbin [Bleu] was wearing a Kobe jersey, and the Utah arena is well-known for being the loudest arena in the states. Corbin held up his hand, and it was kind of awesome, but he got booed off the court.
EI: Can you talk about the scary fan encounter you had that was all over the Internet?
ZE: There was no scary fan encounter. I didn’t get touched. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I kind of walked and got into a car, and then I had all of my relatives calling me, asking me what happened. It was blown out of proportion, so I don’t know.
EI: In general, though, how do you deal with the stardom?
ZE: I’m having a good time.
Are you going to be doing Footloose?
Footloose is coming together, actually. We’re trying to figure out the right way to do it, but yeah, it does look like it’s going to happen.
EI: Starring you?
ZE: Yeah, I hope so.
EI: What’s the biggest thing that you take away from this experience?
ZE: Good friends and great movies. I’m really proud of everything that we’ve accomplished.
EI: Did you keep anything from these films?
ZE: I actually asked to keep one of Troy’s suits from the movie. Everyone was like, “No, no, no. We’re really sorry. We might have re-shoots so we need to keep it.” I was like, “All right, that’s cool.”
Well, we walk into the El Capitan Theater and my suit was on a mannequin and it said, “Please come touch the suit.” I was like, “Re-shoots?!!”
EI: Did you get it?
ZE: No. It’s still sitting in there, I’m sure.
'High School Musical 3: Senior Year' is in theaters now from Walt Disney Pictures.