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After Zac Efron Found Out Matthew Perry Wanted The Actor To Play Him In A Biopic, He Shared Thoughts And Memories From The 17 Again Set

One of Zac Efron and Matthew Perry’s best movies happens to be the same movie, the late 2000s comedy flick 17 Again. The movie sees Perry, who passed away at 54, playing a dissatisfied family man making a wish to be young again. The Greatest Showman veteran, who played the younger version of Matthew’s character, is now opening up about how he found out that the Friends star wanted him to play him in a biopic and shared some thoughts and memories regarding his time with the comedy star on the set of the Freaky Friday like flick, 17 Again

The Hairspray alum was participating in red carpet press for his upcoming A24 movie, The Iron Claw when he caught up with People. In a moment of candidness, the 36-year-old Hollywood A-Lister said he would be open to playing the Chandler Bing actor who had previously expressed his desire for Efron to take on the role. The High School Musical alum said: 

I’m honored to hear he was thinking of me to play him. We’ll see. I’d be honored to do it.

Zac opened up about how the loss of The Whole Nine Yards actor, who he described as a mentor, left him “devastated” and also recounted some fond memories while on the set of the 2009 comedy. He continued:

He was a mentor to me, and we made a really cool film together. I looked up to him, I learned comedic timing from that guy. I mean, when we were filming 17 Again, it was so surreal for me to look across and have him be there, because I’ve learned so much from him, from his whole life.

According to entertainment reporter Athenna Crosby, who was photographed dining with the Go On star at the Hotel Bel-Air one day before his death, the actor had “wanted to make a movie about his life.” He wanted Zac for the part because of how good of a job he had already done playing him in 17 Again

TMZ first reported Matthew Perry’s death. Sources for the website said no drugs were found at the scene and that there appeared to be no foul play involved in the Fools Rush In star’s death. The beloved comedy actor had been candid about his struggles with drug addiction in the past, even discussing how Friendsaudiences can track the path of his addiction through seasons of the show. 

Perry will undoubtedly be forever associated with his classic Friends character, as it remains one of the most popular television programs ever, even more than twenty years after going off the air. The former NBC primetime show still brings in 20 million annual residuals for its iconic cast members

While many will never forget the late Odd Couple star as his Chandler Bing persona, the actor didn’t merely want to be remembered for Friends.  Since his death, an excerpt from his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing seems poignant as it discusses his legacy after he is gone. It reads:

When I die, I know people will talk about ‘Friends, Friends, Friends.’ And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor, as well as given people multiple chances to make fun of my struggles on the world wide web. But when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if ‘Friends’ were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice.

If a movie based on the star’s life materializes beyond reaching out to Zac Efron to play him, the filmmakers could focus on the actor’s great work and highlight some of the many people he helped.

Efron can be seen staring next in The Iron Claw, which hits the 2023 movie release schedule on December 22.

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