After bro-tastic comedies “That Awkward Moment” and “Neighbors,” Zac Efron is going in a different direction for his next film. THR reports Efron will produce and star in legal thriller “The Associate,” which is based on the John Grisham novel of the same name.
Efron will play a Yale Law grad who is blackmailed into getting hired at a major law firm by a gang of criminals. He won’t just be working there, but rather working as a spy and bringing back information regarding “a dispute between two powerful defense contractors worth billions.” It does sound like something that could propel Efron to more mature roles, but don’t get too excited to see it anytime soon, because though he’s attached the project doesn’t even have a screenwriter to adapt the source material yet, nor has the project been out to buyers. “The Associate” previously had Shia LaBeouf attached to star.
Efron rose to fame as the star of the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” movies, and has been working hard to leave that image behind ever since – with mixed results. He’s shown presence and charisma, even in subpar films like “That Awkward Moment,” but choosing such middling projects isn’t really going to help him any. He’s also appeared in JFK assassination drama “Parkland,” Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” and has a string of projects in development, including “Narc,” another college-set legal drama.