Zac Efron and Charlie Tahan scoop Charlie St. Cloud

In his new movie Charlie St. Cloud, Zac Efron shows he is more than just a pretty face, but that he can play a character with real depth and raw emotion. “This is a movie about family and the strength of family,” he says. SheKnows chats with Zac and newcomer Charlie Tahan, who plays his little brother Sam, on everything from the bonds of brotherhood to ghosts — and having Kim Basinger play your hot mom.

Zac Efron in Charlie St. Cloud

Charlie St. Cloud is a movie that explores the long standing bonds of brothers through life — and death. Zac Efron (High School Musical, 17 Again, Hairspray)  gives a touching performance as high school sailor Charlie St. Cloud, the small town hero who feels responsible to look after and care for his little brother, played by Charlie Tahan (I am Legend, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits), since their father is no longer around. After a tragic accident, Charlie St. Cloud (Zac) realizes he has a strange gift of communicating with those who have died, however this gift keeps him anchored down and prevents him from moving on with his life. His fearless classmate Tess (played by The Haunting in Connecticut’s Amanda Crew) falls for Charlie, and wants him to join her on a sailing expedition around the world –- but is he ready to really move on? With appearances by Kim Basinger (as his single mom) and Ray Liotta, this movie pulls at the heartstrings and gets you contemplating life, love and death.

The interview took place at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Ray where we were, very appropriately, surrounded by sailboats. Wearing a black v-neck shirt, dark jeans and sporting his signature tousled hair, Zac Efron had no problem turning heads as he walked into the room! He is the perfect mix of the cute boy- next- door and sexy heartthrob. Me and my fellow parenting writers (AKA Mommy Bloggers) sat down with Zac Efron and 12-year-old Charlie Tahan to discuss their upcoming movie, Charlie St. Cloud, which hits theaters July 30th.

Zac Efron in Charlie St. Cloud

Both of you made sailing look so easy in the movie!

Charlie Tahan: It was really not that easy! (laughs)
Zac Efron: When you are filming on the water, there is a lot of sun and constant motion. It is real tough. You think you are doing something right, but you are doing something completely wrong.

Had you been sailing before?

Zac: I had never been sailing before. I had been on a sail boat. Maybe my dad and his friends took me one time. I was his age (points at Charlie) and thought the below deck was really cool. I don’t really remember it. We can both sail now. If we went out on one of those little skiffs we could probably both sail.

What made you decide to get into acting, Charlie?

Charlie: I was 5 and decided to do commercials for summer and never stopped.
Zac: He is great. The reason Charlie is so fun to work off of is that he is not really acting. He doesn’t come in with a way to deliver his lines like your contemporaries. He is really natural. He responds. He is in the moment. Stuff I’m still working on!

How did you get yourself to cry in the movie, Charlie?

Charlie: I didn’t think I could actually get myself to cry. I don’t know how I cried!
Zac: I just ran in and was like – (laughs, as he acts like he punches Charlie)
Charlie: (laughs) I don’t know how it happened!

Are you both baseball fans? Or more into baseball now?

Charlie: I never really got into sports.
Zac: We did baseball lessons. All the stuff I remember doing when I was his age. Just playing catch constantly. My dad would take me in the back every day for 20 minutes. [We would] throw balls and that that is how we would catch up and talk about stuff. Then he would make me pitch.

How did you prepare emotionally for this role dealing with death and dying? Did you think about personal experiences? How did you capture those raw emotions?

Zac:  When I read the script it was something I noticed. Everyone at some point in their life experiences loss at some point and has to go through that. And everyone has seen that person that has never really bounced back from that. When I looked at the character, it was very easy for me to picture my life without my brother and how that would make me feel the guilt and responsibility. I feel very responsible for my brother and feel protective over him. The thought that I would ever leave him behind was all I needed to get there emotionally. Not to mention he looks a lot like him.

Zac Efron in Charlie St. Cloud

How did you guys build such a believable brother relationship?

Charlie: Fooling around off set!
Zac: He would dive bomb me off set. We had a blast! Remember that one time we gave you an energy drink?
Charlie: That was so funny. I just crashed an hour later.
Zac. They were Red Bull type energy drinks. They were organic, though.
Charlie: Burr [Burr Steers, the director] was like, ‘Get that kid an energy drink!’
Zac: It was the car scene and it was like 3 in the morning. We just chugged those energy drinks and for 3 takes we were bouncing off the walls! Cut to 10 minutes later and he was like…snoring!

Next page: Did they get spooked filming in a cemetery? Plus, Zac talks about his childhood