It seemed juicy: A close-up shot of
After keeping mum about rumored rehab stints for months, was the onetime "High School Musical" star about to open up about his reported addiction struggles in a long profile in the
But what seemed like a moment of confession in advance of his new movie "Neighbors" turned out to be anything but. Sure, he said he used to drink "way too much" and had also dabbled in drugs, and acknowledged attending AA meetings. But he didn't address a TMZ report that said his addiction had actually spiraled out of control on the "Neighbors" set, nor many of the other salacious reports that had emerged.
In fact, Efron seemed more intent on describing his new life, in which he said he no longer lives in a Hollywood Hills bachelor pad, goes to bed at 9 p.m. so he can wake up early to work out and reads "Tao Te Ching" and "Siddhartha."
He continued that pattern in his multiple broadcast appearances in advance of the film's release, keeping things light and non-personal -- as when he dressed in drag on “The Tonight Show" or played along with a shirtless gag on the
In a time when embattled personalities looking for a comeback routinely take the public-confessional route in the style of (and often actually with) an
On its face this might seem odd in a culture in which public indiscretions usually come with -- and benefit from -- a broadcast mea culpa. But by going on a publicity tour and talking about little but, Efron may have been savvy after all. Audiences seemed to embrace him in the raunch comedy "Neighbors" despite all of that. The movie took in a whopping $51.1 million at the domestic box office this weekend, breaking a box-office cold streak for the actor.