Zac Efron Doesn’t Want To Play Matthew Perry Anymore

Zac Efron said "no" to playing a younger version of Matthew Perry in an upcoming rom-com.

By Britta DeVore | Published

Best known for his role on the beloved sitcom, Friends, Matthew Perry has been in the headlines quite a bit over recent weeks for several big reveals in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. From his struggle with addiction to insider scoops on roles he did or didn’t take, Perry has bared it all and gone on to share details during press circuits. After revealing that he’d like to team back up with his 17 Again co-star Zac Efron, Matthew Perry was sent back to square one when the actor shot down the opportunity to play a younger version of Perry in an upcoming rom-com, which was revealed during an interview with SiriusXM’s Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw

While spreading the word about his new book, the film and television star said that he thought the High School Musical actor did such an incredible job playing a younger version of himself that he was the first choice to move forward with Perry’s newest feature, which he’ll also direct. Putting it bluntly, it was revealed that Zac Efron gave Matthew Perry a quick “no,” with Perry adding, “so we’ve got to find someone who says yes.” Perry also commented that at first the role was written for him before coming to the conclusion that he was “20 years too old” for it, adding that he would still take on a smaller part in the rom-com.

matthew perry

Of course, this begs the question – why exactly did Zac Efron turn down his opportunity to play a younger Matthew Perry again? If the Firestarter star gave Perry an answer for this, it wasn’t offered up during his interview. While it may seem like there’s some bad blood or drama between the previous co-stars, it’s unlikely that this is the case. 

With several projects just coming out and one underway, it’s more than likely that Zac Efron is simply too busy to rejoin Matthew Perry in his upcoming production. In 2022 alone, he’s been seen in three different features: Anthony Hayes’s action thriller Gold, Keith Thomas’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter, and Peter Farrelly’s war drama-comedy The Greatest Beer Run Ever. He’s also gearing up for the release of the second season of his eco-centered travel series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron which will see him traveling across Australia and learning about their methods of Earth-friendly practices.

Up next for Zac Efron is a starring turn in Sean Durkin and A24’s dramatized wrestling true-story, Iron Claw. In it, he’ll star alongside a cast including Harris Dickinson, Jeremy Allen White, and Lily James in a film about the legendary wrestling family, the Von Erich’s. Between getting absolutely shredded for his role as Kevin Von Erich and settling down after a busy filming docket over the last few years, it’s entirely possible that Zac Efron just needs a break and isn’t ready to take on another part even in a Matthew Perry helmed feature.

And then, of course, there’s the juicy side of things that could point to some drama between Zac Efron and Matthew Perry. Perhaps the duo had some issues on the set of 17 Again, or maybe Efron wasn’t thrilled with some of the comments made in Perry’s book like the part that turned many against the Friends actor after he wrote about America’s sweetheart – Keanu Reeves. No matter the case, it seems like Perry will be staying tight-lipped on this one.