How Was Zac Efron Cast In 'We Are Your Friends'? The Actor Had To Pick Up Some New Skills In Order To Snag The Role

In We Are Your Friends, the debut film from Catfish star Max Joseph, Zac Efron portrays an aspiring DJ in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley with dreams of hitting it big as a celebrity DJ in the EDM scene. Wes Bentley co-stars as an older DJ who takes Efron under his wing, and Emily Ratajkowski plays the girlfriend of Bentley's character... and love interest of Efron's. All three actors put up strong performances, but Efron especially seems at home in the role and in the world of EDM. Since it seems like this role was made for him, is there any special reason why Zac Efron was cast in We Are Your Friends ?

Other than the fact that he's young and very good looking (and talented, of course) there doesn't seem to be any indicator that this role was made specifically for Efron. He began talks to join the film last June, and was the first major cast member to sign on. Efron is a fan of EDM music, so that must have helped him grab the role, as did his willingness to learn how to DJ from an actual DJ. According to Them Jeans, the DJ who trained Efron, the actor "looks the part" and is "probably more musical, with better rhythm, than most professional DJs nowadays," the DJ said in a featurette for the film.

Efron's transformation into a DJ is stunning, and his commitment reminds me of some other actors who have undergone serious musical training for a role, such as:

Meryl Streep

Streep was taught to play guitar by a bunch of rock stars, including Neil Young, for her role in this summer's Ricki and the Flash.

Miles Teller

A self taught amateur rock and roll drummer, Teller learned how to play jazz drums, a whole different ballgame, from drummer Nate Lang for last year's Whiplash.

Joaquin Phoenix And Reese Witherspoon

These two actors famously learned to sing and play guitar and autoharp, respectively, to portray Johnny Cash and June Carter in the 2005 biopic, Walk the Line.

Don Cheadle

Cheadle spent three years learning to play the trumpet so he could play jazz musician Miles Davis in his upcoming film, Miles Ahead.

Keri Russell

Russell learned Cello well enough to convincingly fake her way through August Rush . Russell's actual music didn't end up being used in the film, but she at least had the look down!

Tom Cruise

No surprise here, since he likes to do all of his own stunts, but Cruise trained for five weeks to learn basically one song on the piano for Interview With the Vampire. No stunt is too great or small, it seems.

After seeing all of these actors rock out, I kind of want to see them in a band together. With Efron as head DJ, of course.

Images: Giphy (5); Sony Pictures Classics