Efron, 22, said he wanted to throw himself a "curveball" by portraying teenage character Richard Samuels who works alongside the famed film director on a Broadway production, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
"It wasn't another musical," said Efron, referring to his "High School Musical" roots. "It was definitely a step forward in my opinion, and a risk, and something that I wasn't even expecting of myself at the time, so I knew no one else would be. It would be kind of a curveball."
Efron downplayed the industry stigma attached to an actor or actress best known for lighthearted teen fare such as "Musical," saying his challenge is choosing the next best project.
"I'd say the challenge right now is finding specifically what to try and work on next," Efron told the Post. "It's not in terms of people being close-minded, really, to be honest."
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