Zac Efron made his name playing a singing high school heartthrob, but as his newly announced film indicates, the "High School Musical" star has clearly graduated.
Deadline reports that Efron has signed on to play a hard-partying college student in an R-rated comedy, starring opposite Seth Rogen, whose character lives nearby Efron's frat house and has his life turned upside down as a result. It's standard fair for the delightfully filthy mouthed Rogen, and a huge step in a new direction for Efron.
Since finishing his Disney days, Efron has worked to establish a new, more mature identity. He danced with adults in "Hairspray," and then there was the well reviewed indie period piece, "Me and Orson Welles," in 2008, and while the 2009 comedy "17 Again" cast him back in high school, he was able to perform in a different context, with more adult themes sprinkled throughout, and its relative success -- the film grossed $136 million worldwide -- helped launch a varied next two years.
Efron then went melodramatic in the Ben Sherwood ghost romance adaptation, "Charlie St. Cloud," before going off to war in the upcoming, "The Lucky One," and joining a whole host of stars in the ensemble romcom, "New Year's Eve," which is out this winter. He'll then take on "The Paperboy," a sexual thriller with Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and others.
As for Rogen, he also started his career in high school, though his belated, beloved "Freaks and Geeks" certainly had a different tone than Efron's Disney world. Breaking out as a superstar in "Knocked Up," he's owned, in large part alongside director/producer Judd Apatow, the R-rated comedy the past half decade, writing and starring in "Superbad" and "The Pineapple Express," as well as taking lead in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," for Kevin Smith and going heroic in the mildly disappointing "The Green Hornet."
Rogen will next be seen in the real-life cancer dramedy, "50/50," a story written by his real life best friend Will Reiser about his true story struggle with the disease. Just like in real life, Rogen plays the patient's best friend; in the film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on the lead role. Then, Rogen will co-star with Barbra Streisand in "My Mother's Curse," a raunchy road trip movie.
The announcement of the film comes after a proliferation of hit R-rated comedies this summer, with plenty more on the docket for the remaining heated months. "Bridesmaids" and "The Hangover, Part II," each set box office records, while "Bad Teacher" and "Horrible Bosses," both performed above expectations. This weekend's "Friends With Benefits" is performing well at the box office, while early August's "The Change-Up" promises good returns with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in the lead roles.
For more on the Efron/Rogen teamup, click over to Deadline.