On the red carpet for the world premiere of his latest film, ‘The Iron Claw,’ Zac Efron shared exclusive thoughts about the untimely passing of his ‘17 Again’ co-star, Matthew Perry. The 36-year-old actor, visibly moved by the recent loss, expressed openness to the idea of playing Perry in a future biopic.
“I’m honoured to hear he was thinking of me to play him,” Efron revealed. “We’ll see. I’d be honoured to do it.” This comes after Perry had previously expressed his desire for Efron to portray him in a biographical film, a wish that Efron is willing to consider.
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Efron reminisced about the time spent filming the 2009 comedy ‘17 Again,’ where he played a younger version of Perry’s character, Mike O’Donnell. The film, a unique take on the concept of second chances, saw Efron and Perry forming a special bond both on and off-screen.
“He mentored me and we made a really cool film together,” Efron shared. “I looked up to him, I learned comedic timing from that guy. I mean, when we were filming ‘17 Again,’ it was so surreal for me to look across and have him be there because I’ve learned so much from him, from his whole life.”
Perry’s desire for a biopic was revealed by entertainment reporter Athenna Crosby, who dined with Perry just a day before his passing. Crosby disclosed that Perry envisioned a film depicting his life and strongly preferred Efron to reprise the role.
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The camaraderie among the cast of ‘17 Again’ was evident, with Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jim Gaffigan, and Thomas Lennon rounding out the ensemble. Lennon, who also collaborated with Perry on ‘The Odd Couple’ television series, wrote a heartfelt tribute, emphasising Perry’s openness about his feelings and relentless pursuit of improvement.
Best known for his iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing in ‘Friends,’ Perry’s impact extended beyond the small screen, with notable roles in films like ‘The Whole Nine Yards,’ ‘Fools Rush In’ and ‘Three to Tango.’
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Efron, currently starring in ‘The Iron Claw,’ alongside Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Stanley Simons, reflected on the challenges of fame. Addressing the omnipresence of smartphones, he acknowledged the evolving landscape of celebrity and how it is explored in his latest film.
“I think times are changing,” Efron mused. “The way that it was for [my character] Kevin [Von Erich], his family, it speaks to a lot of the downside, or maybe the pitfalls, of fame. You have to be a warrior to get through this s—, man. And that’s what this story is about. I respect the heck out of guys that fall down and are able to pick themselves back up and persevere.”