Alison Jones speaks to a muscular heartthrob looking to beef up his Hollywood profile.
On screen Zac Efron spends months dodging bullets and bombs as an heroic marine in The Lucky One.
Off screen it seems he doesn’t share his character’s good fortune at evading injury as he arrives for the interview with his hand swathed in bandages.
“It is nothing, a little cut” he says dismissively when we ask what he has done. “They put on an unnecessarily large bandage on to make me look cool.”
Rumoured causes vary from a mishap while slicing fruit to (rather bizarrely) an encounter with Mike Tyson
“Yeah...you should see him,” he laughs.
His pugilist’s paw is rather at odds with the rest of him, clean cut and dapper in a custom made suit and crisp white shirt.
The Lucky One’s director Scott Hicks had earlier been enthusing that Zac has the makings of the next Tom Cruise, a comparison the 24-year-old seems delighted by.
“He’s definitely someone that I look up to and admire. He is fun to watch, he is charismatic, he seems like a nice guy. He is absolutely someone I would like to emulate.”
He has already been cosying up to a former Mrs Cruise, Nicole Kidman, on The Paperboy, which he has just heard has been selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
“I am so stoked. Elated,” he says.
“And working with Nicole... I was nervous but she is very disarming, very caring and sweet. I am pining over her.”
The former High School Musical star is determined to show how much he has progressed beyond his PG-rated career kick start and tween idol status.
As a Marine Staff Sergeant in The Lucky One he is all bulked out bod, tattoos and post war trauma.
He met with real marines to get a feel for the role.
“I went to Camp Pendleton to see what the younger marines looked like, these young gung ho cats that were just wanting tattoos and were excited to have made it through the basic training programme.
“The staff sergeants just looked like total heroes, superheroes. That took a lot of training. I told Scott ‘I’ll do anything to make sure that I get this thing right’. He thought the first place to start would be to put on some weight.”
He even “led” some of the soldiers into battle as they were recruited to play extras.