Depending on the type of career young heartthrob Zac Efron wants to have, The Lucky One is exactly the right choice, or… not. Will Fetters’ script is based on a novel from Nicholas Sparks, who also provided the source material for A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Dear John, and The Last Song. With a Sparks novel, you know what you’re going to get: young people in love, a North Carolina setting, and about $80 million domestic.
There is a bit of a twist on The Lucky One, in that the female “lead” may not even be a speaking part. Efron would play a Marine who carries a photograph of an anonymous woman in his pocket during his three tours in Iraq as a good luck charm. Upon returning to the Tar Heel State, Efron seeks out his picturesque dream girl. If you want to hear a bit more about this project (meh), or a “high octane” script that Efron is eying (hmm), hit the jump.
It doesn’t look like Efron has officially committed to The Lucky One just yet. Variety and Vulture have him “in negotiations,” while Deadline pegs the Sparks adaptation as Efron’s “likely next pic.” It remains to be proven that Efron can deliver with any sort of reliability, but I’m rooting for a solid career from the heartthrob. I would have hoped he moved on from this kind of fare a few years removed from High School Musical. On the other hand:
a) 17 Again did well, and Efron contributed to the success of Hairspray, but he hasn’t anchored a runaway hit that enables bold career choices.
b) It wasn’t Efron’s fault that his arthouse endeavor, Me and Orson Welles, went fairly unnoticed. Look at him be all charming on Letterman in promotion of the Richard Linklater film.
c) He’s 22. There’s still time. In fact…
Both Vulture and Deadline caught wind of another project to which Efron is now attached, titled Die in a Gunfight. The debut script from recent NYU grads Andrew Barer and Gabriel Ferrari is apparently “a Tarantino-esque blend of Gossip Girl, True Romance, and Romeo and Juliet.” That description kinda blends references to a point beyond my comprehension. But I like it, if only in contrast with The Lucky One. Here’s a better synopsis:
“Efron would play Ben, an underachieving, deadbeat son of a famous New York high-society attorney who gets himself in over his head when he falls for the daughter of his father’s nemesis — a girl who is already busy being stalked by an obsessive French professor.”
The Lucky One is set up at Warner Bros., ready to go as Efron’s “likely next pic,” while Die is currently homeless. Producer Mark Gordon (2012) is on board looking to fix that, and expects to find financing for the picture shortly.
Efron also has comic adaptation Fire and a remake of the Swedish thriller Snabba Cash on his development slate. I’d argue both skew toward the Die in a Gunfight side of the “Sparks”/”Barer and Ferrari” spectrum, though I’m not sure how everything ranks on his to-do list. Efron’s very pretty face can be seen in Charlie St. Cloud starting this Friday, July 30th.