Singing praises for the Disney Channel sensation coming to DVD May 23rd
Do you remember what you were like in high school? Do you remember those cliques - the nerds, the jocks, the drama kids. You, of course, were attached to one of those groups.
Now, think a modern version of Grease. Two kids meet at a snow resort in Utah over New Years; they end up at the same high school.
Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens play those two kids in the Disney Channel Original Movie, High School Musical. Also starring Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zach and Cody), it became one of the most popular and successful TV movies on the cable network. Now, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is giving you a chance to see it on DVD.
We spoke with Zac and Vanessa about taking on those roles and what it's like to be adored by every 9-14 year old in the country. Take a read of what the two teens had to say:
Did you two just click right away from auditions?
Zac Efron: I think we were just nervous.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I was very nervous I must say.
Zac Efron: I don't think any of us knew; I think the people that did know or did think they were great, were the ones that immediately go let go because they were so over-confident. It was the nerves that actually saved you.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: It was weird, I was there with some of my friends and they were up for the same part as me. It's like, "Oh gosh, even though you're my friends, it's still competitive."
Zac Efron: It was fun; we were put together from the beginning. And, to some degree, I think that helped us out because we really got to know each other.
Were the six main actors a close-knit group on set?
Zac Efron: Oh yeah, very; we were very close. We all hung out every day after filming, we'd go out to dinner or movies, we had fun. We're all very tight still to this day.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Yeah.
Could you relate to the high school cliques?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Oh totally, I think everything is so relatable. I haven't been to high school; I've been home-schooled since I was in seventh grade so this whole thing I kind of got to skip. But, everybody goes through the cliques; it's such a true story. People just form their own cliques subconsciously then the other cliques, crash and collide. I think everything is so relatable because it's so true.
What did you two learn from that?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: When I was in 'real' school, I kind of just learned that cliques cause drama; you're better off to mingle with everybody, be in a good crowd with everybody to avoid the drama. I hate drama, I really do.
Zac Efron: In high school, I really didn't have a clique; I was more of a floater, I tried to hang out with everyone, I had friends in all the groups. I went to regular school all the way through and, hopefully, I'll end up at USC studying film.
Are you a basketball player?
Zac Efron: I am not a basketball player! No stunt double, but I'm not that great of a basketball player. I had one real season under my belt, playing with kids who were so much better than me; it was embarrassing, I think I scored two points all season. So, it took a lot of practice to say the least.
What was that training schedule like?
Zac Efron: Training schedule was pretty intense. We'd wake up every day, this is for the two weeks when we arrived in Utah, and we'd start practice at nine. Then, that would be full dance practice, singing and everything -
[his Rocky-themed cell phone goes off and we all laugh and he turns it off]
Zac Efron (cont.): After that, I would go straight to basketball practice. We'd run basketball practice as any basketball team would; we had to run suicides and all get in the lay up lines and we'd run several drills. But, at the end of the day I just remember being so beat and beyond tired. I reached a new level of sleep every night, it was crazy.
You felt like Rocky?
Zac Efron: I did, like Rocky; I'd drink raw eggs every morning.
Vanessa, it looked like dancing in those red shoes wasn't that comfortable, right?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I actually watched the behind the scenes version today and I was like, "Oh, my G-d, what was I doing?"
Was it blister time?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Oh my G-d, yes it was; it hurt but I somehow made it through. I'm really good with heels; I walked in London for miles with these stiletto boots and I survived so I guess I'm really good with heels.
Zac Efron: Yeah, dancing in heels.
Were there any romances on the set? Every young lady was beautiful.
Zac Efron: Yeah, that was one of the benefits of being in this movie - lots of pretty girls. No, I don't think there were necessarily any on-set romances, but we immediately all became best friends. We got a good group which is very rare, there wasn't a bad seed among any of the kids.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Besides Zac.
Zac Efron: Besides me. We were all having fun; that's one of the most important things for the movie.
Who is your favorite singer or band?
Zac Efron: Right now? Mine changes on a daily basis. Right now, it's Matt Costa. I love his new CD; It's called Matt Costa: Songs We Sing. Great CD!
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Me, right now is KT Tunsall; I got the soundtrack for Smallville and she's on that. I've been meeting with a whole bunch of record labels and they gave me all these free CDs.
How is the singing thing going?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Good, I had very nice offers from very prestigious companies and it took me a while to decide who I was going to go with and I think I finally did and I'm going to start meeting producers and writers and start recording. I think I'm going to do pop rock with dance music.
Zac, any music offers coming in?
Zac Efron: I'm trying to steer clear of the whole music thing at this point. I think the most important thing is to establish myself as an actor. As much as it's a performing art, I'm not really a performer. I want to be behind the camera and I think it's very easy for people to start getting confused when they see a CD come out. So, I would like to make my mark in front of the camera first.
How was it the first time you guys heard yourselves on radio?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: It was exciting, I was just thrilled. My dad listens to Radio Disney, it was on and it's so funny because I hear me and Zac talking and we say the most retarded things and they play it on the radio. I just get a kick out of it, it's fun.
Zac Efron: Yeah, definitely.
Why do 9 to 14-year-olds especially love this film so much?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I think it makes them happy, the music is very modern to them, something new and hip. I think the chemistry with everybody, too. The little girls are watching the two characters fall for each other.
Zac Efron: We grew up watching these movies, musicals, and when everyone would break into song and start singing, those were the best parts in the entire movie that you look forward to and a movie wasn't complete unless it had that; there was always something missing. But, that slowly started to fade away recently so I think it was great that our movie was able to bring that back. The film brought it back in a modern way that kids can relate to. We used pop and rock and just some cool, funky grooves that kids could relate to.
Musicals aren't supposed to be hip and you guys have made them hip.
Zac Efron: Yeah, that's what we were trying to do.
What were your favorite movie musicals growing up?
Zac Efron: Definitely Grease; I love that show and Singing in the Rain. It's so great, the energy and the dancing and Donald O'Connor, brilliant! Everyone has to go watch that movie; it's so magic.
Did either of you ever go on vacation and meet someone whom you kept in contact with after that?
Zac Efron: It happens all the time, I'm having a friend over that I just met a week ago in Texas.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I haven't been on vacation in a while.
Zac Efron: We call it vacation but we're really doing a lot of traveling.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Every time I've been out, it's been with these guys so I really don't have time to meet anyone.
There's a great lesson in this movie about doing your own thing. Did you ever let peer pressure stop you from doing something?
Zac Efron: I have to say, I was sort of in the same boat as Troy when I was hanging out at school. All my extra-curricular activities were involved with performing, singing and dancing, and theater; reactions were mixed. Everyone thought it was so cool to be a part of the basketball team but to go out and be in plays at the local theater houses wasn't that cool I guess. But, it would be really fun to have your friends come and watch the shows because then they could see what the heck you're doing all this time when you're missing school and aren't able to hang out. They get to come watch so that was one of the things I had to overcome - peer pressure, just like in the movie, it was against theater and I just tried to follow what I really wanted to do.
You are doing the second movie. How long are you willing to play high schoolers? Do you want to do it as long as you can?
Zac Efron: Yeah, I love it.
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I think you just stay young as long as you can; I will be young at heart until the day I die.
Zac Efron: I'm eighteen, but seriously, I'm operating on such a younger level, I'm young for my age. High school is a defining point in your history; everyone remembers high school. At that age, there is so much drama and so many funny stories and great things happen, it shapes who you are. As long as we can portray this age group, I think I'm going to keep doing it.
In a perfect world, what would you like to see happen to your high school musical characters in the next film?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: I think I'd like Gabriella to break out of her shell a little more, be a little more spontaneous and have more fun. I know the fans want Troy and Gabriella to kiss.
ZZac Efron: I think there's not much more I can ask for. If Troy gets any cooler, he'll explode; I wish I was more like Troy, he can just keep on doing what he's doing.
What's the best advice you have for teens since you are a role model now?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: The role model thing threw me off. I want to say follow your heart because sometimes, I'll be torn between my head and my heart. Sometimes, I'll think, "Well, I'm not doing anything so I may as well go out for this," like career choices. And they've turned out to be wrong so I think you really have to go with your gut feeling.
Zac Efron: My advice to teens is to try and do something that scares you every day because it's the only way you can test how far you can really go. Whether it's going out and auditioning for the play or trying out for the basketball team, you have to explore your boundaries and see where you really want to go and the only way you can do that is to break out of your shell.
What is the weirdest reaction you've had being recognized from High School Musical?
Vanessa Anne Hudgens: Girls singing; they serenade Zac. No, they're singing Breaking Free.
When did you know that this movie was a phenomenon?
Zac Efron: There was no real single moment, it was a culmination of events, and it's still going for me. I'm sure I won't fully realize until I look back in five years and think, "Oh, that was crazy."
High School Musical comes out on DVD May 23rd.