Zac Efron On Prepping For His 'Lucky One' Role: 'I Didn't Recognize Myself'

Zac Efron, whose latest film "The Lucky One" opens later this month, graces the May cover of Men’s Health and tells the magazine about his transformation from "High School Musical" heartthrob to bona fide leading man. And lest anyone was unaware that Efron's all grown up, he recently demonstrated his bra-unhooking prowess during an appearance on Australia's "Hot 30 Countdown." He also revealed his sexual preparedness when a prophylactic dropped from his pocket at the premiere of "The Lorax" back in February (better safe than sorry?).

Not surprisingly, Efron's new role --as a U.S. Marine -- is a dramatic departure from his Disney days playing a high school basketball star with a penchant for choreographed dance routines.

The actor tells Men's Health, “Look, I was just a musical-theater guy. I would have been happy to do that for the rest of my life. But there’s something about me that’s always searching for the more challenging route, and the actors that I really admire are always picking things out of their comfort zones, trying to stretch to see where they can go.”

To prepare for his part in "The Lucky One," Efron met with real-life Marines. “They were my age. 23, 24, even younger," he tells the magazine. "And most of the staff sergeants were not huge guys. They were about my height, 5'9", 5'10", some shorter, but all very stocky. And I’m there in a backward hat and Vans, walking around like I’m still in college.”

In addition to researching the film's subject, Zac underwent an intense physical training regimen. “By the end of the movie I didn’t recognize myself," he says. "You hear about guys like Christian Bale who dive into it and are really able to transform. I’ve always wondered if I had the willpower to actually do it. And I’ll always have pride around the sense that I can.”

For the full story on Zac Efron, click over to Menshealth.com and pick up the magazine's May issue, on newsstands April 17. And scroll down to see the cover and a photo from the shoot:


Photos: Men's Health