Most of Zac Efron’s publicized fight in downtown Los Angeles is still largely a mystery. Despite a favorable cover story in The Hollywood Reporter, which describes the 26-year-old actor as a young man who goes to bed at 9 p.m. each night, there are still many questions surrounding his scuffle with shank-yielding Skid Row “vagrants.” After last year’s reveal that he spent time in rehab for substance abuse, and because of his Disney pedigree, many prematurely grouped Efron in with other child star trainwrecks. So how do you come back from a major PR scandal?
Show your abs, dress in drag and twerk — but not necessarily in that order.
Efron’s latest film, Neighbors is a fun movie about having fun, along with the handling the anxiety that comes with aging, settling down and moving on. He plays alpha male Teddy, president of his fraternity and sculpted god of all that is lean and ripped. The role is not much of stretch — Efron has always been a fit, crushworthy leading man — but it pushes Efron’s comedy skills to new places. Acting alongside veteran comedic actors like Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne elevates his game; his willingness to do just about anything during this promo period — and do it well — makes us remember why we first fell in love with him in the first place. Because Hollywood is full of secrets, and we’ve seen many performers fall from grace, take a look at how Efron and his camp are succeeding in swaying public opinion after a rocky few months.
1. Make sure costars say only the nicest things about you in interviews.
Paired interviews can help alleviate some of the pressure and break up some of the monotony that comes with promoting a movie. During the recent Neighbors press storm, Efron’s friends and castmates have only had great things to say about working with him — should you let gossip blogs make you think any differently. From anecdotes about on-set mishaps to praise of his immaculate human form, these guys are all in with the image rehab operation.
“I’m really excited for Zac, just because I know a lot of people have this preconception of who he is, and once you see this movie I think his teeny bopper image is going to be completely shattered and all these new projects that wouldn’t have come to him otherwise are just going to flood towards him and it’s going to be great.” — Dave Franco, Today
“His whole body’s just like a giant arrow that points to his d–k… He’s the sexiest mother f–ker alive.” — Seth Rogen, Conan
2. Take selfies with fansPlenty of High School Musical ’s target audience are now 20something social media users. Teen crushes die hard, so it’s safe to stay that plenty of those who loved Efron back when he had man bangs still love him in 2014. Whether your personal life is a mess or you’re looking to move away from an earlier image are not reasons to alienate those who supported you first. Efron knows and appreciates this, hence making time for airport photo shoots on his way out of town.
3. Twerk like there’s no tomorrow
Efron and Rogen joined the Workaholics cast (Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine and Anders Holm) for a mock interview at TelAmeriCorp. In order for the duo to be considered worthy of sharing the terrible telemarketers’ cubicle space, they needed to bring it. Luckily, Efron’s hard body in that suit and willingness to provide free lap dances helped sway the votes.
4. Dress in drag
On the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Efron teamed up with Rogen once again to join Fallon in the basement of his pre-teen alter ego for an installment of his sketch “Ew!” As expected, Efron makes a very pretty young woman, and his tendency to serve duck lips and tenderly bite his index finger in a selfie is spot-on. Rather than refer to the more seasoned sketch performers, Zac holds his own, giving you the final reason you need to check out Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What.”
Two weeks after his Skid Row scuffle, Efron won Best Shirtless Performance at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards (for his work in That Awkward Moment). Instead of shying away from the spotlight or using his moment to talk about something “more serious,” he gave the people exactly what they wanted See? He’s happy, healthy and… still has a great body.
He’s a work in progress, sure, but this charm offensive is working. And for the record, Zac. You don’t have to only be promoting a movie to take your shirt off in public.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]