(Isle of Man Film)
Izumi Hasegawa: Zac, do you ever notice that maybe you're directing fashion a little bit? And do you think about that when you are stylizing or dressing?
Zac Efron: When I'm stylizing [laughs], it's all about accessories. [Laughs] No, I notice people that look good. I notice fashion on other people. I always enjoy it when people try to look their best. I've always been taught to try to look my best, and that's probably my main influence. I'm not looking to influence fashion any more than the next guy, but I do try to look my best when I'm out and representing my movies.
IH: How about the plaids in this film? You have a plaid jacket, you have plaid pants... Did you like the clothes in this, or just like it for your character for that era? Would you wear any of this stuff?
ZE: I think I stole some of the stuff. On the last day, they always try to get you out of your trailer really quick so nothing's missing.
IH: What did you take?
ZE: Always steal some of your wardrobe. You never know when you might need it.
IH: What kind of research did you do for the part?
ZE: I read the original book. I pretty much had the standard, for my age. I studied him in high school and a little bit before that. I was familiar with a lot of his work and War of the Worlds...
IH: Did you read any bios?
ZE: Coming into this, I thought I was pretty well read on Orson, and then immediately found out I hadn't even scratched the surface on this guy. Rick [Linklater] really was the one who filled us in and supplied us with endless amounts of literature and articles and old photos. I think I've seen every picture of Orson. [Laughs]
IH: Are you a fan of Orson?
ZE: Yeah, definitely. Claire Danes: It's hard not to be.
IH: What was your first experience with Orson Welles? A movie or...
CD: I discovered Orson Welles in college. My freshman English professor screened Citizen Kane for us, and I wound up writing a 20-page term paper on it. I'm sure I'm not the only one. [Laughs] I think there's many a term paper dedicated to Orson Welles. So I fell in love with him there, and since then, I've seen a few other of his films but didn't realize he had been such a revolutionary figure in theater as well, and in radio. He was really a maverick in so many different mediums at such a young age, it's mindboggling that he accomplished so much...
ZE: At 22, he'd done more than anyone can ever dream...
IH: He was pretty arrogant at 22, wasn't he?
ZE: He deserved to be.
CD: Rightly so, but I think the movie talks about the confusion of that, and even Sonja says, with someone like Orson, you excuse a lot of behavior, and it's true. When somebody's ego is in service of really brilliant, innovative work, it's hard to criticize their failures as a human sometimes.
IH: And Zac, what was your first experience with Welles?
ZE: I was probably 16, and I worked with a director who said his favorite movie of all time was Citizen Kane. As a wrap gift, he gave me the DVD. I was definitely fascinated by it and I thought it was an incredible movie, but I was probably too young to fully appreciate it at that point.
IH: But Richard learns a real lesson in dealing with the politics of Hollywood types. Have you had any lessons like that in the industry?
ZE: I think things have changed a little bit. I've never had an experience quite like that. I'd say it was reminiscent of a lot of my early theater experiences. It's pretty cut throat. There's always another kid on the sidelines ready to take your place, but I never experienced it quite like Orson, I don't think.
CD: I doubt many people have. [Laughs]
IH: Does it make you have a sense of accomplishment that, as a side effect of this film, you're going to have a lot of young people out there meeting Orson Welles who never would have?
ZE: Exactly. People keep saying, "What about Orson Welles is going to attract the young audience?" What I'm hoping is that the audience that does come is able to enjoy this experience with such an iconic guy, and hopefully it will spark their interest and they'll be able to learn more and go find out about Welles in depth -- his amazing, very interesting, roller coaster career.
IH: So this character is based on a real person. Did you get to meet him? Or is there any proof that this person actually existed?
ZE: Sort of. Rick was sort of hands-on with him in trying to get as much of the story as we could -- all the stuff with lighting off the fire alarms was real. Other than that, he steered pretty far away from the movie. He kind of kept to his own.
IH: Was it a big rehearsal with everybody in the whole thing?
ZE: No, it was just us.
CD: We rehearsed mostly with us and Christian and Rick for a few days, and then they rehearsed again -- the people within the play in the movie, they rehearsed. I wasn't involved with that.
ZE: Quadruple space rehearsal. [Laughs]
IH: Claire, your part isn't based on anyone real, so is it somebody you knew? I mean, I could see that person. You go, oh yeah, I recognize her.
CD: She's written so well, and she was really vivid on the page, so I didn't have to stretch my imagination too much. But yeah, she's bright and ambitious, and I'm always impressed by that. I always think that's a good thing, but especially in that time, when women were discouraged to do that and their roles were more confined and limited, and she's pretty brazen.
IH: Can you talk a little about working with Christian [McKay]? 'Cause you both have more experience on the screen than he did, and I think he was remarkable.
CD: He was great. He adapted pretty brilliantly.
ZE: Initially, he alluded to the fact that he was bit nervous coming in with very little experience on film, and I just remember, from the second I heard him speak and hung out with him and saw his personality, I had never felt more confident in a leading man. He's very intelligent and a very quick study. Claire and I sat in the room the first day of rehearsals. When he read his lines for the first time as Orson, I was shocked. I was floored.
CD: He had also played the role on stage. I think that was a good foundation for him, but he was playing him much later in life, and of course he was playing him on stage, so it's a really different kind of expression.
ZE: He's exceeded our wildest expectations...like I had any expectations. [Laughs] It was absolutely incredible. And even better, just to be with, to hang out with, he definitely deserves all this.
IH: Why this film? I feel like you guys have no shortage of scripts, so what about this movie made you guys want to do it? Especially Zac -- this is a lot different than any film you've done so far.
ZE: We tried to do the musical version, but we couldn't get the rights. [Laughs] No, it was different, and it was a very unique opportunity for me at the time, and it still is. I think it was something that just didn't seem so cut and dry. It wasn't an obvious decision, and even I was a bit surprised, and that's very cool. I hope I can continue to maintain that and have those options. That's why we do this -- to grow and try new things, and that was exactly what this movie represented for me, so thank god [laughs] it came at the perfect time.
CD: The script was wonderful, and it's really not that often that you read a script that is this immediately engaging and coherent and charming, and I loved all the characters. They were all really detailed and specific, and Richard was directing it and I've just loved his work for so long.
ZE: It seemed ambitious to make a film about Orson. Rick directly says we made a sort of a screwball comedy at times about Welles, which is something he would have never done himself. [Laughs] He never would have made a screwball comedy, so we put him into a movie that he never would have... I just thought that was so funny. Rick is full of those. [Laughs]
IH: You guys recently wrapped a film in Vancouver called The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. Can you talk a little bit about who you play in the film and what the film is about?
ZE: I play a character named Charlie who is kind of a golden boy in his high school, and then his life takes a turn with the death of his little brother. It's a story about how he copes with that, and it's sort of a love story from that point on. It's kind of hard to explain. It always comes across like I'm digging graves...
CD: Well, you just finished filming it too. I never know what a movie is about ... I'm too close to it. It's fuzzy. It's helpful when I get to see it in its final form a year later.
ZE: Or when you hear it and it makes sense out of someone, you can steal the answer. [Laughs]
IH: Can I ask you really quickly about your green footprint and what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprint?
CD: I just recycle. I live in New York, so I don't even have a car. That's the best I can do. [Laughs]
ZE: I work mostly by candlelight now. [Laughs] I don't use water bottles anymore at my house -- I use a Purex.
IH: What's Claire doing next?
CD: I'm doing a movie for HBO, Temple Grandin.