Zac Efron has truly made the leap from teen actor to movie star, so let's look at his career from High School Musical to his role as real-life serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Efron started his acting career in 2002, with his first credited TV role being on Joss Whedon's Firefly, where he played young Simon Tam during a flashback scene. He would go on to appear on shows like ER and CSI: Miami.
His big break came in 2006 when he played the lead role of Troy in Disney Channel TV movie High School Musical. The catchy songs and likeability of the young cast saw it become a ratings smash and showed Efron could sing and dance in addition to act. It didn't take long for High School Musical 2 to arrive in 2007, which drew 17 million viewers for its premiere and broke a number of records.
In a unique move, the final installment of the trilogy was a theatrical release, with High School Musical 3: Senior Year grossing over $252 million worldwide. The movie received positive reviews too and Efron quickly moved on to movies roles like 17 Again and 2010 romantic drama Charlie St. Cloud. He also backed out of the 2011 remake of Footloose, possibly to avoid typecasting issues following the success of High School Musical.
Following the critical lambasting of glossy ensemble New Year's Eve, Efron took on a number of quirky projects, including At Any Price with Dennis Quaid and lurid melodrama The Paperboy with Nicole Kidman. The next big phase of his career came with Neighbors in 2014. This comedy cast Efron as a party obsessed dudebro who heads up a fraternity and makes life hell for his neighbors Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen. The movie was a big hit and Efron received solid reviews for the depth he brought to what could have been a shallow role. He would later return for 2016's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, though the sequel was considered a disappointment.
After lead roles in misfiring comedies like Baywatch, Efron found his footing again with a supporting role in The Greatest Showman. The acclaimed musical gave him the chance to once again sing and dance in addition to act, and he received great reviews for his turn. He also played a small role in James Franco's The Disaster Artist in 2017.
He will next be seen playing serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and while the reviews for the movie itself are somewhat mixed, Efron is receiving acclaim for his performance. The movie will likely lead to further dramatic roles for Zac Efron, though his next project couldn't be more different. He'll be leaning his voice to Fred in forthcoming Scooby Doo reboot Scoob, which is due to arrive in 2020.