Research Proposal 29624703
When it comes to Zac Efron, many people know him through his role ‘Troy Bolton’ of High School Musical, which deeply imprinted on him. Once a heartthrob for all the girls, his high school crush appearance is deeply embedded on the hearts of the audience. Today, Zac Efron is one of the most successful child stars on the Disney Channel. However, his path to success is not what we expected. Being an actor, he was categorized and tagged, several films after the huge succeed of High School Musical were buried due to his limited choice of roles. After a few years of downturn, he comeback as ‘Teddy Sanders’ in Neighbors which I spotted an obvious change of his star persona, regardless on-screen life and the public presentation. During this era, Zac Efron choice of films cater to the public’s choice, he tends to lean forward what the society favors. This situation continues until Zac Efron attempt a new role and type of genre as ‘Ted Bundy’ in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. This indicate as another transformation of his star persona which he tries to magnify his choice of role by seeking for changes and improvement on films. The three eras depicted his alteration of star persona influences by him personally, the film industry and society impact. Therefore, I chose him as my research topic to understand how his role in films shapes his star persona and to study how his star persona transform from different point of his career. Besides, I wanted to explore how the industry and society controls and restrict his establishment of star persona.
1. What is the relationship between Zac Efron’s persona and his appearance in the film, and to what extent has the persona been controlled ?
To conduct this
research, I am using his film, High
School Musical, Neighbors and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
as the three major film analysis. These three films each portray distinct
periods in his career which can be analyzed in detail how his star persona is
constructed, characterized and transformed. Characters, performance and
close-up in film helps to identify the features of the star persona (Dyer 1998:
20). I am using these films as an analysis tool on his on-screen performance,
to evaluate his public presentation through his role’s characteristic and ways
being shaped (Dyer).
For the theories, I will use Richard Dyer and Christine Gledhill’s star theory to explain and elaborated on a focus of the star persona, star brings to cinema and relation to society. This is to seek an understanding through Dyer’s 4 main elements : promotion, publicity, films, criticism and commentary. Moreover, study through 4 key points of Gledhill, stars as capital value, as constructs, as deviant and as cultural values. (Dyer, Gledhill)
Furthermore, I will use “extra-filmic” materials like photographs, tv appearance, magazine and the social media to identify the features of star persona. However, these materials and platforms are primarily controlled by the star’s management, it is designed to promote the star in a positive light and to generate a consistent and coherent persona. So, in order to avoid bias and subjective views, I will also refer to materials such as critique reviews and opinion piece. These articles are predominantly based on personal views which delivers the public’s views of the star. Besides, resources like a star’s gossip and scandal will be utilize because their off-screen life helps to build up their star persona as well. (Dyer 1998: 20).