Zac Efron Declined Playing a Younger Matthew Perry in Upcoming Rom-Com

There won’t be a 17 Again reunion happening anytime soon. Recently, Matthew Perry participated in an interview for the SiriusXM show Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw to promote his new memoir. The book, titled Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, has been making some waves due to the candid thoughts shared by the actor. This includes touching on his lengthy battle with addiction as well as an apparent dislike for Keanu Reeves (though he has since apologized for the latter).

In his new interview, Perry also revealed that he’d been hoping to reunite with his 17 Again co-star, Zac Efron, in a new movie. In 17 Again, which was released in 2009, Efron played a younger version of Perry’s character. Perry says that he tried to get Efron to sign on for an upcoming romantic comedy that would also feature the Firestarter star again playing a younger Perry. This time, however, Efron wasn’t interested. As Perry explains in the interview of the film, which he plans to direct:


“I finished a screenplay that we’re out with to some people. I want to direct that… I have a small part in it. I wrote it for myself and then realized I’m 20 years too old to play this. So we’re trying to cast the leads now.”

Perry says Efron was offered the lead role for the movie. It would have been a younger version of Perry with the Friends star still appearing in a cameo. But Efron declined the film, sending Perry back to the drawing board to find a new actor for the role.

“He said no, so we’ve got to find someone who says yes.”

Maybe Zac Efron Was Too Busy

New Line Cinema

It’s not exactly clear why Efron turned down Perry’s rom-com, but one reason could be that he just didn’t have the time to do it. After impressing with his performance as Ted Bundy in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Efron went on to star in this year’s Gold, Firestarter, and The Greatest Beer Run Ever, which just recently premiered on Apple TV+. Currently, Efron is working on the pro wrestling movie The Iron Claw, and images of him from the set went viral after seeing his body transformation he underwent to play pro wrestler Kevin Von Erich.

Meanwhile, Perry hasn’t been seen in a film since 17 Again, though he popped up in HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion last year. In recent years, he also had notable roles on the TV shows The Odd Couple, The Good Fight, and The Kennedys: After Camelot.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is now available.