Far from his quintessential heartthrob look, Baywatch lead Zac Efron slips into a rugged character for the upcoming Australian movie Gold – a sight nearly unrecognizable for his fans.
The public first had a peak of his transformation in December 2021 when the trailer for the survival thriller film was released on YouTube.
Efron starred in the role of a desert drifter who chances upon a giant gold nugget and stays to guard it in the desert, leading the character to face all sorts of trials in the barren setting.
In the trailer, Efron was seen sporting a rough beard to go with his dirt-caked, wounded face.
On Feb. 1, the star posted an insider clip on his Instagram account where Efron, Gold’s producer John Schwarz, and director-writer-producer Anthony Hayes shared how challenging it was to film the movie in what Efron called “very desolate and dry and very harsh conditions.”
Schwarz said: “The challenges of getting this into principal photography were trying to shoot the film in the desert in South Australia during summer, leading up to Christmas, during a pandemic”
“It was a real challenge. It was probably the most brutal shoot I’ve done in 35 years. It was extraordinary,” Hayes commented.
Efron also recalled in the clip how the whole team behind the film was bonded by the filming conditions. The lead said: “We had dust storms, massive, massive dust storms that luckily kind of found their way into the movie. We’ve filmed through some of the gnarliest conditions I’ve ever witnessed in my life. [It] showed a lot of solidarity, team work, on behalf of the crew and our production. It was really, really fun.”
The official Instagram account of the film also posted movie stills and behind-the-scenes snaps.
The film reached the silver screen in Australia last Jan. 13 and is bound for US theaters on March 11. It will also be available to stream on demand on March 18.
Gold marks Efron’s big screen return since his last acting gig for the Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked; Shockingly Evil and Vile starring alongside Lily Collins.
Watch the trailer below.