Zac Efron proved his comic chops in this summer's NEIGHBORS, holding his own with Seth Rogen and even taking a few choice jokes away from the guy. This summer was a bit light on comedy, so Efron's work in NEIGHBORS was good enough to sustain the film, and the summer. But can Efron hold his own against one Robert De Niro?
Dan Mazer seems to think so. Mazer worked closely with Sacha Baron Cohen, so the man certainly knows how to have audiences bust a gut laughing. And according to The Wrap, Mazer has just cast Efron and De Niro together in a film titled DRIVING DICK KELLY. The movie formerly had the title DIRTY GRANDPA, and considering Mazer's background, it's probably going to be about as filthy and as funny as possible. The plot involves De Niro's character taking his grandson (Efron) to spring break, and while Efron's character is more subdued, De Niro is - well, I'm sure it wasn't called DIRTY GRANDPA for nothing. The script is being written by John Phillips.
It looks like Efron is attaching himself to interesting projects, and working with great actors like De Niro certainly doesn't hurt either. Tom Cruise went that route in his early career, and I can see Efron emulating that career arc. So far DRIVING DICK KELLY has a pretty good pedigree in comedy. I hope it delivers when it opens.