17 Again

17 Again ★★★★★

I was an intern on this movie when I was 17 :))) And I owe Zac Efron an apology. Here goes:

An angry producer dude in Oakley sunglasses told me rule #1 of being on set was WE COULDN’T TALK TO ZAC EFRON. NO WAY. DON’T EVEN LOOK AT HIM. Zac was at Beatles-level stardom to 14 year olds during 2008 — girls were chasing him all over the grounds of the high school where we were shooting, banging on the windows of whatever room he was in — so that seemed fair. I had also never seen High School Musical so I was like “Ya ok who? Whatever sounds good.”

Then, on New Years day, when I was at the crafty table (my main hang spot) Zac walked up to me and my friend, all cheery and full of good tidings, and said “Happy new year, guys!” I was horrified. The angry producer guy was right behind him, STARING at me and my friend like “Don’t FUCK this UP, that is Zac FUCKING Efron the god damn STAR of major motion picture 17 Again.” So I panicked. I was holding a Dixie cup full of grapes, which I proceeded to shove in my mouth as I sort of mumbled a “hmm!” 

And it wasn’t just me. No one at the crafty table said “happy new year” to Zac Efron that day.

There was a lot of pain in Zac’s eyes at that moment, understandably. “Have I done something wrong?” He must have been thinking to himself. The answer was “No, Zac, you were being regular, despite the mountain of child stardom standing in your way.” But he couldn’t have known that. Not in that moment.

He walked away, sad, holding a skateboard that may or may not have been for a scene, unable to connect with the only people anywhere near his age on that set. A group of managers and agents in their 40s encircled him, ready to chat about his next project. A truly devastating sight to behold. As I stood there, choking on grapes, I thought “Did I just snub Zac Efron, the John Lennon of child actors? And is his life maybe worse than mine???” The answer to both questions was “Absolutely yes.”

So Zac, if you’re reading this: I’m sorry, bud. It wasn’t you. It was the mean producer guy in the Oakleys. You’re doing great, and you always have been. Was that your skateboard? If so: very cool. If not: that’s ok, too. And Zac? Buddy? Happy new year.

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