Zac Efron To Star In Drug Thriller ‘Snabba Cash’

'High School Musical' alum will also produce adaptation of Swedish novel.

Zac Efron is doing his best to graduate to more grown-up fare. The “High School Musical” star will star in and produce the crime thriller “Snabba Cash,” an adaptation of the 2006 novel by Swedish author Jens Lapidus. The book was already made into a film in Sweden released this January.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog reports that “Snabba Cash,” which translates to “easy money” in English, was the subject of a Hollywood bidding war after director Daniel Espinosa’s adaptation generated interest at the Berlin Film Festival. Universal, Summit, Paramount, Fox, the Weinstein Company and Mandate were all among those studios that bid, but Warner Bros. won out in the end.

The plot follows three linked storylines: A young man struggling to maintain his lifestyle turns to the drug trade; a convict who took the blame on a drug deal involving the Serbian mafia; and an enforcer for the same mafia who just wants to get out and live a quiet life with his daughter. The three come together in the hopes of making a quick buck … but, of course, nothing is that simple.

“Snabba Cash” is Efron’s latest bid to step outside his roots as a teen heartthrob and be recognized as a serious actor. Last year, he starred in Richard Linklater’s period drama “Me and Orson Welles,” a performance for which he received favorable reviews. He’ll star next in the Burr Steers-directed adaptation of “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud,” which hits theaters in October, and is also booked for the lead role in the 2011 live-action adaptation of “Johnny Quest.”

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