Firestarter Director Teases Zac Efron Changing The Way We Look At Him In The Stephen King Remake

Making the transition from child star to adult actor is a challenge that many have tried and failed, but Zac Efron is certainly an exception. He landed his first acting gig when he was only 15 years old, and was world famous before he turned 20, but key professional choices over the last decade have helped his career endure his maturity. The most important factor in this has been helping fans change their perception of him as a performer, and director Keith Thomas believes that Efron’s next movie, a remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter, will help him evolve in audience’s eyes even further.

Zac Efron is playing Andy McGee in the film – the father of a six-year-old girl who possesses incredible abilities – and when I recently spoke with the developing feature’s director he emphasized that the role will be an interesting one for fans of the actor to take in. As featured in the video of our conversation at the top of the article, I brought up the fact that Efron is a performer whom we have watched grow up on screen, and Keith Thomas remarked that Firestarter has the potential to be a real perception-changer:

He's in his early thirties now. So he's a different guy, and I mean, he's the same guy, but a different guy. And I think this is the kind of role that he can kind of really shift gears in terms of the way that he's portraying himself and kind of the way we're looking at him.

Now that he’s an adult, Zac Efron is taking on more adult roles, and his part in Firestarter certainly fits the bill. He is no longer the basketball-playing teenager he was in High School Musical, the frat boy he was in Neighbors, or even the wild 20-something he was in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. We haven’t really seen him in the husband/father role before, and the Stephen King movie could be the perfect opportunity for him to demonstrate more dimensions.

First published in 1980 (and previously adapted as a 1984 film starring Drew Barrymore), Firestarter follows Andy McGee and his daughter Charlie as they go on the run from a government agency known as The Shop that wants to perform experiments on them because of their incredible abilities. After volunteering for a drug trial when he was in college, Andy gained the power to “push” people’s minds, and Charlie has pyrokinesis.

The new Stephen King adaptation is still in pre-production, and the cast is still growing – with the news breaking a few weeks ago that the villainous John Rainbird will be played by Michael Greyeyes. I’m hoping it will wind up featuring Zac Efron’s best performance yet, and Keith Thomas’ comments give me confidence.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.