Zac Efron talks 'Dr. Seuss' The Lorax,' playing 12-year-old kid
Zac Efron says it was "incredible" to pay tribute to one of his childhood inspirations by taking part in the animated film "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.'"
The movie is based on the author's 1971 children's book and was released on Friday, March 2.
Efron, 24, provides the voice of 12-year-old Ted, who is on a search for something that will help him win the girl of his dreams. Taylor Swift, 22, plays his love interest, Audrey, a character she has described as "heavenly." In his search, Ted discovers The Lorax, voiced by Danny DeVito, a grumpy yet charming creature fighting to protect his world.
"It was incredible - so much fun," Efron told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the February 19 premiere. "It was pretty easy - I just had to play a 12-year-old kid, so I was just myself."
"I like the movie, the animation is very whimsical," he added. "I think it was really neat to play homage to Dr. Seuss because his drawings were so inspirational to me as a boy. And to see them rendered in this sort of animation is really special."
The actor went on to explain how the audience will take something away from the film.
"There's so much," he said. "Dr. Seuss was so ahead of his time. I think the important message here is that there's always more that you can do - all it takes is just the absolute smallest thing to help."
At February 19 premiere for the film, the actor faced an embarrassing moment on the red carpet when he reportedly dropped a condom after reaching into his pocket. He later picked up the gold packet and mouthed "Oh my god," to his publicist.
He talked about the incident on the "Today" show, saying: "I never had a pocket-checking policy prior to going onto the red carpet before, but now we fully instated one prior to going on the red carpet."
Efron rose to fame with Disney's "High School Musical" films and is also known for his roles in movies such as "Hairspray" and "17 Again." He has since appeared in movies with more mature roles such as "Charlie St. Cloud" and the star-studded 2011 film "New Years Eve."
"The Lorax" is not the first animated project Efron has worked on. Before that, he voiced characters on shows such as "Robot Chicken," which saw him sing a parody of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" during a 2009 episode. "The Lorax" is Swift's first animated film, however, and also marks her third acting role overall.
Up next, Efron will appear in "The Lucky One," which is based off of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The actor buzzed off his famous, floppy hair and bulked up for his role in the film, where he plays a marine that survived three tours of duty in Iraq.
"The Lucky One" is slated for release on April 20, 2012. Watch the trailer for "The Lucky One" and video of Efron at "The Lorax" premiere below.
Reporting by Jason Marshall, correspondent for KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).