It's hard to believe it has been almost fifteen years since baby-faced Zac Efron danced his way onto our screens as Troy Bolton in High School Musical. But it's true - the Disney star is now all grown up, and apparently, Hollywood believed he was ready to take on his first parent role. In his upcoming film, Firestarter, the actor stars as one half of a father-daughter duo, playing opposite eleven-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong. Efron sat down with Ellen to discuss the change in pace, and it turns out he was hilariously underprepared for the task.
"I didn't think about it all that much," he said. "And then when we started filming the movie, I had a two-week quarantine… and when I got out of quarantine, we started filming that Monday, so it was a pretty quick intro to the film, and all of a sudden, I had this daughter in front of me. We had a pretty heavy dad-daughter scene right off the bat, and I realized I was drastically underprepared for this part. I didn't know what I was doing," he admitted to Ellen DeGeneres to the audience's amusement.
That being said, he praised his young co-star for being "so sweet and the coolest" and explained that although they didn't start with the most natural chemistry, within two days of filming, they had "the best bond." Based on the 1980 Stephen King-written original of the same name, the film tells the story of a young girl with a supernatural ability to start fires. Her father, played by Efron, works tirelessly to protect his daughter from those looking to use her skills for evil.
So, did the eventual experience make Zac feel ready to be a father in real life? Umm, it had the exact opposite effect. "I think that was a healthy dose to put me off of it for as long as necessary," he confessed. "I have a little bit more growing to do, probably. I don't know. Not yet," he laughed awkwardly. "I have a healthy respect for my parents!" he announced, ending the uncomfortable conversation. Catch Zac in full father mode in theaters and on Peacock on May 13!