Zac Efron will be heading back to school soon enough for “High School Musical 3,” but before he takes his last walk through the halls of East High, the 20-year-old star has signed up for a little summer tutoring. OK, make that opportunity-of-a-lifetime summer tutoring from a genius.
Efron will headline “Me and Orson Welles,” the fictional story of Richard Samuels, a teen in 1937 who worked with the legendary director of “Citizen Kane” and “War of the Worlds” at New York’s Mercury Theater in 1937, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
After an impromptu sidewalk audition, Samuels is given a bit part in Welles’ production of “Julius Caesar.” From there, he learns about life, love and theater from the enigmatic-but-brilliant Welles, culminating in a showdown between the 17-year-old high school student and the then-22-year-old director.
The flick, an adaptation of the coming-of-age novel from Robert Kaplow, will be directed by “Dazed and Confused” and “Before Sunrise” helmer Richard Linklater. A graduate of New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Kaplow told National Public Radio that he got the idea for the book from the real-life story of Welles apprentice Arthur Anderson.
“Specifically, I remember sitting in the basement of the Rutgers University Library, looking through a copy of Theatre Arts Monthly from 1937, and there was a photograph from Welles’ production of ‘Julius Caesar,’ which featured Welles in a dark coat and black gloves, sitting at the edge of the stage. Next to him was a young man [Anderson] playing a ukulele tricked up to look like a lute,” he told NPR. “My first thought was: The real story here is the kid. What does this moment feel like from the kid’s point of view — to bear witness to a celebrity creating himself right in front of your eyes?”
Efron himself is a celebrity being created right in front of our eyes. The heartthrob is currently filming “Seventeen,” the story of a 35-year-old man (Matthew Perry) who suddenly becomes young again. After “Me and Orson Welles,” Efron is slated to reprise his role as Troy Bolton in the hugely popular “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Filming for that movie is slated to begin in mid-April.
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