Efron, Pfeiffer reunite to ring in 2012 early
Zac Efron has a secret.
When the actor was filming his follow-up role in “Hairspray,” the teenager was crushing on someone more than twice his age: his lovely co-star Michelle Pfeiffer.
“Back then, I was very, very young and very bashful,” recalls the “High School Musical” star, now 24. “Just being around her, I tended to put my foot in my mouth a lot. I didn’t know what to say to her and everything just came out wrong.”
Whoever said you only have one chance to make a good first impression was wrong because Efron got to work with Pfeiffer again and show her he had matured in the intervening five years. The two performers not only co-star in Garry Marshall’s ensemble holiday film “New Year’s Eve,” they share an onscreen kiss added at Pfeiffer’s suggestion.
Of course, Efron’s confession comes as he is sitting next to his co-star for an interview.
“I’m the envy of every girl across the planet,” says the married mother of two teenagers. “And, yeah, I got a kiss in there with Zac. Pretty clever of me at the ripe old age of 53.”
In the holiday film, Pfeiffer plays a mousy spinster named Ingrid, who works for a thoughtless record executive (John Lithgow). On the eve of 2012, she quits her dead-end job and sets out to fulfill some lofty resolutions with the help of a young bicycle messenger named Paul (Efron) in exchange for some hard-to-get concert tickets.
By the end of the evening, the two seemingly mismatched New Yorkers discover they have made a romantic connection and kiss in Times Square as the new year is ushered in with the ritual ball drop.
“We had so much fun and he was so collaborative and is so talented,” Pfeiffer praises, gazing at her handsome young co-star.
The veteran actress dyed her long blond hair brunette and cut it for the role to look less conspicuous.
“I think he was a little disappointed when he opened my trailer door and there sat Ingrid,” she says of her plain Jane character.
Their onscreen May-December relationship is one of a dozen or so intertwining New York love stories unveiled in Marshall’s holiday movie, following the blueprint of his 2010 hit “Valentine’s Day.”
The actress, who lives in Southern California with her TV producer husband, David E. Kelley, and their two children, Claudia Rose, 18, and John Henry, 17, says she prefers to celebrate New Year’s Eve quietly.
“I watch the ball drop in my jammies at 9 p.m. West Coast time with some champagne, maybe some pie, whatever happens to be around,” she says. “I stopped setting those unrealistic expectations for New Year’s Eve many years ago.”
“We’re going to change that,” Efron insists, egging on his co-star. “You’re coming out with me this year.”
“I’ll have to run it by my husband first,” she says.
Both actors have cause for welcoming 2012. Pfeiffer stars in the highly anticipated big-screen version of the ’60s TV classic “Dark Shadows,” opposite another Hollywood heartthrob, Johnny Depp.
“That was really an exceptional experience on every level,” she says. “It’s one of those movies where a lot of stuff was shot that I wasn’t privy to, the special effects, and I just can’t wait to see it. I was a huge, huge fan of the show. In fact, I was one of those kids that would race home from school to see it.”
Efron has wrapped “The Lucky One,” in which he plays a Marine Corps sergeant who returns from the Iraq war to seek out the woman in a photograph he found while serving there. “It was a cool character and really the most challenging thing I’ve done so far,” he says, flashing a bright smile. “He’s a complicated guy.”
He also is one of the voice talents in the upcoming big screen version of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.” The animated feature hits theaters March 2.
‘New Year’s Eve’
Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references
Running time: 118 minutes
Source: Angela Dawson, The Detroit News