Michael Gracey's The Greatest Showman is a surprise hit over the holiday season. Sure, audiences are flocking to both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the rollicking Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. But Hugh Jackman's musical biopic of P.T. Barnum is packing in crowds, banking $49 million domestically in its first two weekends. The breathtaking musical numbers are generating positive word of mouth, with raves going to Zac Efron and Zendaya for the work they did on the showstopping sequence "Rewrite the Stars." It involves ropes, pulleys, trapeze and so much more, so when we sat down with the stars to ask them how the number came together, we were surprised to learn that they had NO CLUE how it would look in screen until the last minute. They told us:
Zendaya: There's one thing, to see it in your head, and then there's one thing to actually deliver it and make it real. I could tell you what I want it to look like all day long, and we could tell you what we want to do, but at the end of the day, we have to physically figure out how to do it together.
Zac Efron: And also to capture it on camera. There was no real way we could rehearse it, in terms of the other numbers, where it was, like, we do steps and they do the cameras at the same time and figure it out. We didn't know what we were doing minute to minute [in this song], so... this is a testament to our camera guys, and to our grips, electrics and all of the stunt crew who helped us do the movie. But minute to minute, things were changing. We were up in the air. We were elevated, and they had to adapt and constantly change as we figured out what the number was, because we didn't know what it was going to turn into.
When I mentioned to the two immensely talented performers that the process sounded terrifying, they admitted that it was, but in the best way possible. They continued:
Zendaya: It's almost like putting together a puzzle. But we can only see the image in our head. The pieces are there, but...
Zac Efron: We don't know the order, we can't give you specifics. ... And luckily, we had such creative people that they would come together. And once they saw a certain puzzle piece, they would know where that would fit, and they would want to explore it with us.
Now that you know how they put that scene together, listen to "Rewrite the Stars" from The Greatest Showman and relive some of the magic:
Then watch Zac Efron and Zendaya talk to CinemaBlend about the filming of their spectacular scene: