Starting this Friday, April 17, Zac Efron and Michelle Trachtenberg star in the new movie 17 Again — not as romantic interests, but as father and daughter! (If I were Michelle, I would have been sorely disappointed).
Well, I guess she got over it. And so did I, when I found out I would get to recap this interview about their 17 Again experience!
First, a little background on their characters:
Michelle: She’s a really fun girl named Maggie, sort of your typical 17-year-old: kind of rebelling against her parents . . . She’s angry and doesn’t understand why they’re getting divorced. She’s kind of going through everyday life not caring. A typical 17-year-old, essentially.
Zac: I play Mike O’Donnell. Mike is not thrilled with the way his life has turned out. In the beginning he had all these opportunities, so many ways he could take his life, but one day during high school that’s all stripped from him.
[Nancy] Zac plays a 17-year-old version of Mike, and Matthew Perry plays the 37-year-old version — see a resemblance?
How do Zac and Michelle compare to their characters?
Michelle: I was definitely not a party girl, nothing crazy. I stayed home and read books and watched Law & Order marathons. I still do that. I’m so lame. Boring!
Zac: I was a very regular 17 -year-old. I don’t know any other way to put it. I wasn’t fighting crime or anything!
Michelle: I was, vampires and stuff.
[Nancy] LOL! Michelle definitely kicked butt as Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And there is nothing more comforting than day-long marathons of Law & Order.
What sparked Zac’s interest in 17 Again:
Michelle: Working with me.
Zac: Working with Michelle. But also, Adam [Shankman] had mentioned the overall concept to me when we were doing Hairspray in Canada, and I said, “Yeah, it sounds great.” Little did I know that it would turn into a whole production. It was amazing to watch it come to fruition.
And will there be a Hairspray sequel?
Zac: I know as much as you guys do at this point.
The fine art of a movie slap:
Michelle: I felt really bad because the other night I had to slap Zac and it was really hard to do. There were only, like, three takes, but he was such a trooper. His face was, like, burning red.
Zac: When you do a slap on camera there are so many ways to do it wrong, so we just really did the slaps. It was amazing watching everybody have so much fun that night . . . It started slow, and Tom [Lennon, who co-stars in the movie] was very nice about it. He was like, “There’s no way to fake a slap. We’re just going to have to go for it.” And he did. He knew how to do it. We had a stunt coordinator that day who was instructing everyone how to slap and he goes, “You guys really got to sell it! You have to slap him!”
[Nancy] No matter how much direction I got from a “professional slap stunt coordinator,” I could never slap Zac.
On high school fashion:
Zac: I used to not even care; I’d wear my pajamas to school.
Michelle: I wore uniforms to school, and I would rebel so hard against the uniform. I’d wear striped socks and platform shoes and tons of necklaces and rubber bracelets and cool jackets with buttons on them
What did you get in trouble for in high school?
Zac: I got sent home from high school because I went up to the front of my Spanish class and I was going to write a sentence on the board and my pants fell down in front of the class. Everyone starting laughing.
Hmm . . . I’m heading out to the theaters Friday night with a gaggle of other Scholastic Staffers and I just found this funny poster for 17 Again — note the pants on the floor next to Zac! What?! I better warn everyone of possible wardrobe malfunctions!
What about you? Will you be seeing the movie opening night? While you wait, check back on Ink Splot later this week for the 17 other cool things I learned about Zac Efron!
— Nancy, STACKS Staffer
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema
Interview conducted by Gerri Miller