Who better than Tom Cruise to give career advice?
Unhappy with the state of his career after Charlie St. Cloud and Me and Orson Wells failed to excite at the box office, Zac Efron reached out to the international movie star to learn some tricks of the trade.
"I won't talk specifically about those conversations but I think they were pretty candid and common sense driven," the Neighbors star, 26, says of his chats with Cruise 51 (per news.com.au). "You have to be aware—and I am—of who you are and what you bring to the table and even more importantly how you are perceived. You really have to take into account what your place is, how you can shape that to what you want it to be in the future and what the steps are to get there."
Efron diversified his résumé after High School Musical, but those efforts backfired to a certain degree. "I had done films back-to-back-to-back. I was burnt out," he recently told The Hollywood Reporter.
His mentor can certainly relate. In a 1986 interview with Roger Ebert, a 24-year-old Cruise spoke freely about his desire to make it in show business. "For years, all I had were a bed, a desk and a chair," said the star, then known for Risky Business and Top Gun. "When I was making a movie, they put me in hotel rooms. Between jobs, I moved back into my apartment, and my lifestyle dropped considerably."
"It's a strange thing, being handed so much power, to do whatever you want to do," Cruise continued. "I'm offered a lot of movies, but I haven't worked in six or seven months, because I want to sit back and evaluate where I want to go next. My point of view and my values haven't changed. Everybody wants to push and pull me, but I refuse to change my lifestyle."
"Don't get me wrong. I want to be in this position. But I get inundated with so much information. I spend the day weeding through it: charities, benefits, job offers, requests. And I don't want a huge company in front of me. I trust the people who work for me, and I spend time with them, and I want to hear their ideas and keep in touch. A lot of the challenge for me right now is simply to get my life together."
Cruise managed to do just that, becoming one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. Despite three failed marriages, professionally, the perpetually positive star is still at the top of his game. His next movie, The Edge of Tomorrow, co-starring Emily Blunt, is in theaters this summer. To celebrate, the actors will attend three movie premieres—in London, Paris and New York—within a 24-hour period.
It doesn't seem likely that Cruise will ever slow down—and the same could be said for Efron.
"Both [Seth Rogen] and I didn't really take any money to do the film but we have some of it in back end," Efron says of Neighbors, which was made for a modest $18 million. "We wanted to work it together so that's the way we had to do it to get the movie made. It's more of a gamble but that's the kind of gamble one has to make. Ultimately you want to make sure you do the work and make a great film and then you deserve it, right?"