When it was announced that Disney Channel legends Zendaya and Zac Efron would be co-stars in a movie together, it was met with a bit of a freak out for all the right reasons. Two beloved members of the House of Mouse from different eras working together in a major motion picture? Already we're obsessed. They're starring in the upcoming film +The Greatest Showman*, along with Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams, so with a cast filled with heavy-hitters, you know this is going to be a moment for our two fave Z's. We're here to break down everything you need to know about this movie:
What is The Greatest Showman About?
The musical movie tells the story of P.T. Barnum, played by Hugh, better known as the founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus and the man who pretty much came up with the whole concept of show business. It focuses on how he started out growing up in poverty and eventually goes on to launch his first circus in New York, so a true rags-to-riches story. Check out the latest trailer:
it even has Zendaya herself so pumped for the movie to come out and we're just over here like same, girl.
The movie is set in the 1800s but the music you can expect to hear will sound super current. Oh, and did we mention the songs are created by songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who you might know for their work creating the Oscar-winning songs for La La Land? We know it's already top-notch music and we haven't even heard the tunes yet.
"We were clear from the beginning that this wouldn't feel like a period movie or a historical piece. What would Barnum do now? I have an almost-12-year-old daughter. I wanted [the movie] to be as exciting for her as listening to Katy Perry’s new song," Hugh said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. And now we have a listen to the first tune from the movie! The audio for "The Greatest Show" has arrived and get to hear Zac and Zendaya singing together. Their voices = magic. (It's at the 3:55 mark when we first hear Zac's voice solo and it's everything.)
Who is Zendaya's character?
Z plays a trapeze artist named Anne Wheeler who is part of the circus and the starlet explained to InStyle that part of the reason why she was drawn to this character was how the story tackles racial issues and tensions.
"A big part of my character’s story line, the reason that she is an oddity, is that she and her brother are black. That is what makes them different. That’s why they find comfort in being in the circus. But Anne finds freedom and power in being a trapeze artist—she’s just above everybody. It’s her happy place," Zendaya explained. And yes, that is not only her singing in the movie but doing all of her own trapeze work, something she insisted on.
"She blew me away," director Michael Gracey said to Vogue. "I would shout out a direction or give the slightest adjustment, and while flying through the air, she'd do it."
So yes, it's her doing all her own stunts. It was all her and it wasn't easy.
"Now mind you, I have no muscle tone, no upper body strength. I don’t work out ever. I just have a metabolism and look like I’m in shape," Zendaya said to Variety as she spoke about how she enrolled in an aerial boot camp to prepare for her role. "It was extremely scary. I actually got to be on the real rig; it was 10 to 15 feet taller, and there was no net. I was like, 'What am I doing?'"
And she nailed it, of course.
"I got to accomplish something and try a new skill I never thought I’d ever do in my whole life but I did it. Scratch that off the bucket list," Z said to Entertainment Weekly.
Although Zendaya has dabbled in singing, she kind of did abandon it for a while while pursuing her fashion and acting dreams. But now, she's back at it again. Her acoustic rendition of "Rewrite The Stars" from the movie is proof that she's got pipes.
Who is Zac's character?
Zac plays Phillip Carlyle, P.T.'s business partner. Zac hasn't starred in a musical since his role as Link in Hairspray back in 2007, plus everyone knows him as the one and only Troy Bolton from the High School Musical movies, so hearing him sing and seeing him dance in a movie again is major.
"I have definitely taken a break from musicals and really sort of focused on other things for a while. I just knew this was the one I wanted to jump back into and be apart of," Zac said in a video he shared on Twitter about his role in The Greatest Showman. And here he is rehearsing his dance moves and you can see Zac is going all out, giving it his all.
This movie is going to be next level and it's going to be such a treat for longtime Zac fans to see him returning to his musical roots especially since he has a duet with Zendaya, so get ready for all the feels. Which brings us to our next point...
Are Zendaya and Zac love interests?
YES. Zac's character falls in love with Zendaya's character in the movie so now we'll get to see what life is like with Z + Z as a couple. Or their fictional selves are at least. And from the first round of teaser footage and photos we've seen, you can already tell they have so much chemistry.
Plus, Zac said his on-screen kiss with Zendaya is his all-time favorite he's ever done, since it means so much to their characters in the film. This is already too much to handle. How amazing do they look together flying up on the trapeze?
And the Baywatch star has done nothing but sing Zendaya's praises, especially when it came to filming these physically intense scenes where they're doing all the trapeze stunts.
"While I was wincing in pain and covering myself in Tiger Balm and KT tape, Zendaya would move to her next scene completely unfazed," Zac told Vogue. "She’s beautiful and rad, with a fearlessness that is impressive in someone her age. I think I still have quite a bit to learn from Zendaya," he also said to Glamour. And Zendaya told InStyle she was happy to have a partner in Zac who was really there for there as much as she was there for him during their intense trapeze scene together.
"We rarely touch the ground, so it was quite the experience. We had to do this thing where we swing across and swing apart and intertwine and spin around each other. And there’s a take where we literally just ... bam!," Zendaya said. "I would [text] him, like, 'Yo, does your frickin’ this hurt?' It was good to have a partner who was just as excited as I was."
Plus, Zendaya admitted she was totally a High School Musical fan just like the rest of us.
"I mean everybody was, come on now," she said . V true, girl, v true. But as Zendaya pointed out to Elle, she wasn't ever super obsessed with Zac and didn't have a poster of him in her room or anything.
"I did not [have a Zac poster]. Everybody knows at least two or three Zac Efron obsessives. I happen to not be one of those people. That’s a good thing. I got to know him. He’s different from what people think. He’s this slightly awkward, nerdy kid who happens to have this life," she said.
Now that is truly the cutest. Oh, and that super romantic duet they have? It's called "Rewrite the Stars" and it's seriously magical. Take a listen:
SWOONING ALREADY. And in the behind-the-scenes video Zac shared, he and his fellow Disney Channel alum spoke about how great it was to work together.
"I'm working with Zendaya, she's just incredible. In this movie, I get to fall in love. Falling in love and having my eyes opened," Zac said, with Zendaya adding, "Zac and I have really become a team, we're literally tied together up in the air, so we have to have a trust and a connection."
Aww, this friendship is already the cutest. Zac went ahead and wrote the cutest 21st birthday message to Zendaya back in September too that added yet another layer to this precious pairing. "Happy Birthday to the biggest goofball I know, @zendaya! #fbf #rewritesquad #birthdaygirl 🙌☺️👆🎸💫," he wrote.
And Zendaya responded, calling him her "partner in crime."
Adorable. When it was Zac's 30th birthday, Zendaya shared a lovely pic of the pair filming a scene together and of course she wrote in the caption all about their friendship. "✨Happy birthday man!! @zacefron Thanks for having my back the whole movie, quite literally.✨ @greatestshowman #greatestshowman," she wrote.
Z + Z = Besties 4ever. Their other co-star, the one, and only Hugh, echoed Zac's sentiments about how fab the starlet is too, confirming everything you ever thought about her to be true. Basically, she's the coolest.
"She’s what I call a unicorn. I don’t know if there has been anyone like Zendaya or will be anyone ever again. That girl makes it all look absolutely effortless," Hugh said to Entertainment Weekly
This is only Zendaya's second feature film, right after her big screen debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming so she's obviously starting her movie career off the right way.
When does The Greatest Showman come out?
You're going to have to wait a little bit longer, since the extravaganza doesn't hit theaters until December 25, 2017, as shown to us in the work of art that is the official movie poster that has the tagline, "The impossible comes true."
Already have chills. Mark your calendars now.
Check out the first full-length trailer:
This post was originally published on June 27, 2017, and has since been updated with new information.