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Drama and comedy: The many faces of Zac Efron

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Zac Efron is one of the most promising young actors in Hollywood, and he has already created an impressive resume. He jump started his career with the Disney Channel movie "High School Musical" in 2006, and he has since blossomed as an actor, starring in films such as "Hairspray" and "Charlie St. Cloud." One of Efron's best assets is his impressive ability to alternate between drama and comedy. The following are three of Efron's more serious roles compared to three of his best comedic roles.

Charlie St. Cloud in "Charlie St. Cloud"

In this 2010 drama, Zac Efron plays Charlie St. Cloud, a young man with a promising future. That all changes when his little brother dies, and Charlie is the only one who can see him. In this role, Efron plays a grief-stricken and troubled character who must eventually choose between saving the woman he loves and continuing to see his little brother. He is extremely effective as he pulls on audiences' heart strings, spanning a wide palette of emotions from desperation and hopelessness to love and eventual happiness.

Logan in "The Lucky One"

In this 2012 romantic drama, Efron plays a Marine in Iraq who finds hope in a picture of a woman that holds the words "Keep Safe" on the back. When he goes back to the United States, he is troubled by the fact that whoever possessed that picture must have died, and he sets out to find the woman who he believed was his lucky charm during his time in Iraq. Zac Efron's role in this film is complex and intriguing, and he explores his romantic side with co-star Taylor Schilling.

Jack Jansen in "The Paperboy"

In this 2012 film, Efron experiments with his ability to play a tougher character in this dramatic thriller. When Journalist Ward Jansen returns to his hometown to investigate a racial murder case, he employs younger brother Jack, played by Efron, as his driver. Jack is dealing with a failed university swimming career, and complications arise when the begins to lust after a woman involved in the investigation. This role allowed Efron to showcase his acting skills when dealing with more mature themes, and his performance is spot on.

Link Larkin in "Hairspray"

The 2007 comedy "Hairspray" was one of Efron's first comedy roles, and he surprised audiences with his ability to let loose in this goofy film about an overweight woman who tries to bring integration to a dance show in 1962. Efron plays Link, a charming young singer and dancer on "The Corny Collins Show." The character was partially based on Elvis Presley, and it is clear that Link also has some complicated relationships. Despite the wacky nature of his character, Efron's acting never seems outlandish, stiff or forced.

Mike O'Donnell in "17 Again"

Efron plays a man who was at a dead end with work and life before he was given a second chance to be a teenager in this fun 2009 comedy. When Mike turns 17 again, he takes the chance to go back to high school and rewrite his life, getting into plenty of hilarious situations along the way. The complexity of this character, being a middle-aged man in the form of a teenager, took a lot of acting chops to make it work, but Zac Efron filled the shoes of this character with ease.

Teddy Sanders in "Neighbors"

In this 2014 comedy about a fraternity that moves in next door to a young family, Zac Efron takes his comedic acting abilities to a new level. In this hilarious film, Zac plays Teddy, the cocky, fun-loving president of the fraternity. Although he is at first friendly with the family next door, war is declared when they call the police on one of his parties. The situation erupts into a series of uproarious gags and schemes by both parties. Efron is completely convincing in his role as a frat boy who becomes increasingly insecure as the film progresses.

Zac Efron became a teen heartthrob after "High School Musical," and he was expected to fade off into obscurity like so many other young stars. However, he continued to mature as an actor, gaining increasingly complex and sought-after roles over the years due to his incredible acting versatility. Fans can expect to see a lot more of Efron in both serious and comedic roles.

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