Zack Efron stars opposite Adam Devine in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, a true story about two brothers who tend to get a little raucous at parties. When their sister tells them of her plans to get married in Hawaii, the family insist they bring along respectable dates to keep them in check. After an exhaustive search they settle on two girls, however, their choices turn out to be a little different from what they seem. In fact, their partners, played by Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza, turn out to be wilder than the brothers. The film is adapted from the book, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (And a Thousand Cocktails) by Mike and Dave Stangle.
Why do you think weddings as a subject make for such ripe comedic material?
I think they’re funny because at one point or another you have to go to one. They just tend to come more and more often and every one of them is different so it’s very universal in that regard. There are magical moments and then some of the most outrageous stuff happens at weddings and it seems like you should make a movie about it. But also, I think people want to believe that they’re in the presence of true love. That’s a line from Wedding Crashers where Owen Wilson said that.
What do you like to do away from acting? You seem to be an outdoorsy kind of guy?
I think there’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie in me. I like to be out of my comfort zone, like backpacking and getting lost in the woods, elements that are really scary. A lot of people won’t do it but I grew up in a small town where that was normal. Our getaway was camping. But when I moved to LA I met people who had never slept in a tent. I’ve taken good friends of mine now, people from other countries that have never really been in the outdoors and spent time with them and it’s fun watching them experience it for the first time and do things that help people get over their fears.
I should hang out with you to get over some of my years.
Oh, for sure, I’ll get you over your fears. I like to be that person to push you to the limit. Yeah, it’s fun.
What do you look for in a companion? What’s important to you?
Somebody who is fun to talk to. Somebody that I can make laugh. Somebody that I can show new things to and somebody that shows me new things. Somebody that wants to find adventure and love life. True love is the recognition of its counterpart in another. That’s another line from Wedding Crashers.
‘Wedding Crashers’ had quite an effect on you. Is it difficult to find time for relationships?
It’s hard but I make time for sure. It’s definitely difficult but you find ways to do it, you definitely do.
What is the craziest thing you ever did for love?
I wrote a song for a girl once and performed it in front of a bunch of people. That was pretty nerve wracking but I think that was cool. That was probably the coolest thing.
I understand the real Mike and Dave were on set. What was that like?
Crazy. When they came to set we were really excited to meet the guys. It was a pretty fantastic story like these guys had the nerve to do what they did. It seems like it’s not real and so when we met them, when we got to finally talk to them I realised they are grounded and they’re not insane. They’re not crazy, they’re real guys. That being said, we were filming so we were very busy. They did want to party (laughs), they wanted to hang out. But we’re like, ‘It’s Tuesday and I have a 6:00 AM call time.’ But they were very nice. I guess we got a sense of who they really were but they’re great guys.
You’re a fashionable guy who attends lots of events, red carpets and parties. What is that process like for you? Is it a two minute decision or is a lot of thought involved in what you’ll wear? Is it fun, or is it something you dread?
For me, I get really nervous before the red carpet because it seems so posed and fake. For girls, if they like it I think that’s great, but if you’re a dude and don’t like it and you show up, I commend you (laughs). In the days of Frank Sinatra when the studios were all behind you and the pictures were turned into portraits, which are now posters that are iconic, it was made to make you a symbol of this facade and the red carpet was an elegant place to be. Now it’s just a lot of screaming and hand sanitizer (laughs).
After all these years you must be used to it by now?
The most fun on the red carpet is actually seeing the fans. The red carpet itself, that moment feels like you’re doing the ‘blue steel’ face. There’s no way around it, like what you do in your mirror face. What are you supposed to say? So it’s either that or you do like the George Clooney and never look at the cameras and you’re always like yes, Omigod (points to a fictional person in the crowd). Then you’re never making a real face and no-one gets a good picture but I haven’t decided what person I am yet. I don’t know what I want to do. It’s weird but I’m figuring it out. I hope I get to come to Australia, by the way. I’m really working on it (speaks with an Australian accent)
Especially with your Australian accent…
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I can say a few things in the accent. I can say ‘razor blades.’ It’s definitely the hardest accent to do.
I don’t know how often you can use the words ‘razor blades’ in a sentence. You’ll have to learn some practical words.
It’s that flat sounds that get me. Flat
Now you’re sounding like a New Zealander!
They’re so different. They’re so different. Sorry. I love New Zealand accents too though (Laughter) Theyr’e a bit more flat sounding, yeah. I totally get what you’re saying now. It’s Fight of the Concords versus Rose Byrne. I totally get it. I hear that it’s like that.
Do you have a bucket list? Places you’d like to visit?
I’ve got a list. I don’t write it on my phone or anything but there’s a few more things I want to do in Peru. I want to see the whole world. I want to do everything so my list is really long. It’s just not written down anywhere.
How do you travel? Do you have to disguise yourself? Can you go and hike in the mountains without somebody recognising you at the top and wanting an autograph from you or taking your picture?
Yeah. There’s ways around it. If you’re hiking wear a bandanna or something like that but covering your face is becoming popular in every culture more and more.