Zac Efron and Zendaya's new movie, The Greatest Showman (which also stars the likes of Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Rebecca Ferguson), is exactly what we all need at the end of a long, stressful year. It's pure all-singing, all-dancing fun – you'll laugh, cry, and try to dance discreetly in your seat, and your heart will probably grow three sizes by the time it's over.
When BuzzFeed got the chance to meet with Zac and Zendaya in London recently to chat about the film, we obviously jumped at the opportunity – and we decided to hand them the reins. Here's what happened when they were given the chance to interview each other…
Zac Efron: [laughs] OK, this one’s kinda good. What was the first thing you thought when you met me?
Zendaya: You were, like, blonde. I think that was the first thing I thought when I met you. You had a lot of blonde hair. I didn’t know you were going to be blonde when I met you.
ZE: It wasn’t like, “Ew, run!”
Z: [laughs] No! You were blonde, so that was interesting, that was the first thing I thought of. And then you were cool.
Zendaya: What’s the most uncomfortable scene you’ve ever had to film?
ZE: Oooh, that’s a good one. There was this scene I did in a movie called Paperboy. Basically, I was with Nicole Kidman, and it was insinuated in the scene – it was mostly improv – that we were supposed to hook up, but the director just never yelled “cut”.
Z: So it was just a long take?
ZE: We just kept going and going and going and eventually it led to us being partly undressed and things started to happen [laughs]… Yeah, we went there. It was uncomfortable just because I didn’t know when we were going to stop. It was pretty cool, though, considering it was Nicole Kidman. So, if I was going to be in that situation…
Z: Nicole Kidman would be a good person.
Zac Efron: What was the most difficult scene for you to film for The Greatest Showman?
Z: I would say, even though there’s all this crazy trapezing aerial stuff that we’ve done, for some reason we made it happen and it worked really good. In a weird way it was easy. So I’m going to go with the first day being the most dramatic scene. Literally my first day shooting was, like, tears and hospital beds.
ZE: I was passed out, so I couldn’t do anything.
Z: It was more just stressful than hard. It was like, “What the hell, right off the bat, this is what we’re doing first?”
ZE: I remember I was just totally unconscious, so I couldn’t give you anything. I was just out and you were, like, crushing it.
Zendaya: Do you have a secret talent? What is it?
ZE: I mean, the whole point is that they’re secrets, right? [laughs] I can blow spit bubbles with my tongue. But your spit has to be just right, and I just had coffee, so there’s no way it’s going to happen right now.
Zac Efron: What attracted you to The Greatest Showman? What made you want to do it?
Z: I’m a huge fan of musicals – like we both are – but I would say, for me, it was the idea of our storyline and who our characters were. We both can attest to the fact that it’s so relevant to the times and the things they had to deal with. The idea of love and love being, at the end of the day, the thing that should win. That love story and all the obstacles they face, that was the thing that drew me to The Greatest Showman.
ZE: One hundred per cent, me too.
Z: And the pink hair. And the trapezing. And Hugh Jackman.
Zendaya: If you could play any role in any musical, what would it be?
ZE: That’s a really tough question – I’ve seen so many good musicals. I would probably play, like, Mary Poppins. That would be really fun. One of the Producers. Being in the Lion King would be really awesome. That would be a dream come true. We could make that happen.
Z: It’s already been cast, but…
ZE: Just on stage. Since they’re running out of people, I would love to do that. I want to be the prince and I wanna roar.
Zac Efron: What was your reaction when you found out we would be working together?
Z: Well, I was obviously excited, because this was something I really wanted to do. When I heard about it, I was like, “Oh my god, this is an awesome opportunity.” I thought I was auditioning – apparently I had the part, but nobody told me that. I was stressed out.
ZE: I didn’t know that she didn’t know either. I was just chillin’, and you were, like, extra badass that day.
Z: Because there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders!
ZE: I didn’t know. I was just like, “Damn, she’s got swag!”
Z: Thank you, thank you. I was relieved, if anything, that I got the job.
Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed
Zendaya: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
ZE: Probably…an astronaut. I’ve always wanted to go to space.
Z: I could see you doing that. You’re very adventurous and fun.
ZE: Realistically, though, I’d probably just write novels. Solve really large math equations on chalkboards like a genius.
Zac Efron: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Z: I think it’s more something I’ve learned than something someone sat down and told me, but it’s just to chase happiness first and foremost – because at the end of the day, if you’re not happy, why are you doing it? You know? I always think, if this doesn’t make me happy any more, then I should go off and do something else. If I weren’t doing this, I’d probably be a teacher, because my parents are teachers, and that’s what I love. I think that should be the first thing you look for: Something that fulfils you and makes you happy.
ZE: I love that. You’ve got to have a full cup to pour from. Once your cup is full, then you can spread the love.
Zendaya: What’s the most challenging role you’ve ever played?
ZE: Hopefully the next one. Ted Bundy [in upcoming film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile] is going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be different and it’s going to be fun. I’m super stoked. The challenging roles, I think… I love comedy, but I usually just work off the other actor. Like, Seth Rogen for Neighbours… It was hard not to break into laughter a lot. So maybe Neighbours, just trying to stay focused. It was really hard working with Seth, because he could turn a scene in any direction.
Zac Efron: How much preparation did you have to do to perform the stunts in The Greatest Showman?
Z: I had to start trapeze training, which was different for me, because I’ve never done that. I had no intention of ever doing that in my life, but you know what, I did it. Proud of myself. I’m also not a work-er out-er, so working out was a new thing for me.
ZE: That’s surprising – you’re not a work-er out-er?
Z: Nope. No no no. He’s like, “Oh, me and Hugh are riding our bikes to the gym!” I’m like, “You guys have fun. I’ll be here. Eating breakfast.”
ZE: We’re work-ers out-ers!
Z: I am definitely not. But all joking aside, I did enjoy the process of learning a new skill and pushing myself and not being afraid of heights any more.
ZE: Have you ever ridden the Superman at Six Flags? I’m not afraid of heights, but that shit’s scary.
Zendaya: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
ZE: “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Just because I know the dance.
Z: I’ll be your hype man.
Zac Efron: If you were going to join the circus, what would be your act?
Z: Well, shit, I put so much work into learning trapeze, I’m gonna be a trapeze artist! All that training I had to do?
ZE: And also we worked with real circus performers, and we saw how hard the rest of that stuff is. It’s no joke.
Z: Yeah, it’s next level. I’ve talked about this, but the sticky spray I had to use? I was hanging on this hula hoop thing, and I had to be doing all these weird poses, and it hurts because you’re holding yourself up on this metal thing. So they have this spray that makes your hands sticky so you can have a better grip, but it hurts because you have to peel your hands off the metal. I had to flip myself over [the hoop].
ZE: It looks insane. She does it in the movie, it’s insane.
Catch Zac and Zendaya in The Greatest Showman, in UK cinemas from 26 December.