Celebrity is a fickle and hierarchical mistress and even superstars can get starstruck sometimes.
Just ask Zac Efron. The all-singing, all-dancing tween heartthrob, who’s taken on leading roles in many a summer blockbuster, ever since he and his high school cohorts helped create the most annoying musical franchise in history, can get a little flustered when faced with great talent.
When he came close to a face-to-face encounter with the late, great, Michael Jackson, for example, Zac recalled fan-boying so hard, the conversation ended up with the pair of them crying.
Speaking to TV stalwart, Graham Norton, on the New Year’s Eve special of The Graham Norton Show, Zac explained he was at a lunch with choreographer, Kenny Ortega, when a phone was passed to him.
Who was on the other line but none other than the Man in the Mirror.
Recounting the phonecall, Zac gushed:
I was like, ‘This is Zac Efron. I’m a massive fan. I’m an actor. You’re like my hero.’ I didn’t know what to say and I was just at a loss for words and rambling on. And he said, ‘That’s really nice. Can you hand the phone back to Kenny?’
Quickly recovering from the unintentional burn from one of the greatest musical legends in history – no big – Efron continued on with his lunch, grateful for the opportunity to even speak to Jackson once.
Yet the story doesn’t end there. Moments later the phone rang again. It was Michael, and he’d called back to say, ‘Oh, this is Zac from High School Musical? I love what you do. I’m a huge fan.’
You can watch Zac’s recollection of what happened next in the clip below:
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Promoting his new film, The Greatest Showman, alongside co-stars Zendaya and Hugh Jackman, Efron explained how he ‘lost it’ when he realised his hero was complimenting his body of work and talent for performance.
I lost it. I lost my balance. I think I fell over into the wall. I was like, Do you know who I am? What? And I just started crying.
I was a mess. That made him cry.
At which point, Zac smiled and told the audience what Michael said next:
And so we were both crying to each other on the phone and he ended the whole phone conversation with something along the lines of, ‘Hey Zac’, and I stopped crying for a second… ‘Isn’t it awesome?’ I was like, ‘What?’
And he goes, ‘Dreams really do come true, don’t they?’
Efron is currently on the promotional tour for his new film, The Greatest Showman, which follows the story of the innovative genius behind PT Barnum (Hugh Jackman of Logan fame), the father of circus shows and the spectacle which would become a worldwide phenomenon of performance.
All the stars do some pretty incredible stunts and Jackman even had to step in to save Efron’s life on set.
You can watch the trailer below:
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For this interview, the anecdote about another great man who entertained fans for decades seems poignant and particularly fitting.
From one of The Greatest Showmen, to another, this is a pretty special moment.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.