You Don't Know Zac

In his first gay-press interview, Zac Efron talks marriage equality, gay rumors, and why he almost went commando for his new film, The Paperboy.

BY Brandon Voss

September 10 2012 5:00 AM ET

When did gay fans first come to your attention?
I really felt that support after High School Musical. I think the gay audience related to my character Troy, because it really was a story of embracing who you are, no matter how different you might be, and not being afraid to show it. That’s a universal theme for everyone, but it specifically resonated with the gay community, and I felt very proud of that.

Do you remember your first interaction with gay people?
I started doing local theater so young — I was 12 — so to me, being gay was just another way that you can be. I never really had time to think about it or have any preconceived notions. I don’t judge anyone and I never have.

You’ve said in the past that the older college kids who performed with your local theater were your first role models.
Absolutely. I might’ve been less aware of it back then, but without question I had gay role models.

After your involvement in last year’s Footloose remake fell through, fans worried that you might be done with musicals for good. Do you see more musical theater in your future?
Without a doubt, I’d love to do Broadway. I actually can’t wait to get back to musical theater. There’s a part of me that wishes I could go do it right now, but there’s also a part of me that knows I need to tackle other types of acting opportunities first. I want to be a well-rounded, versatile performer. Until I master other things, it would be hard for me to get back to musical theater. But that will always be my home base and where I feel the most free, and it’s something I will definitely do again, even it it’s just for pleasure and personal fulfillment.

The Paperboy also marks McConaughey’s first gay role. Are you interested in tackling a gay character?
I’d never take a role just for the sake of playing gay, but I’m always looking for a role that’s challenging, different, and entails some risk, so there’s no doubt in my mind that one of those characters will be gay at some point in the future. It’s always interesting to delve into unexplored territory, and that would be a new avenue for me. I definitely wouldn’t be afraid.

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