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2012 has been a year of major transition for Zac Efron. The former "High School Musical" and "17" again star has found his way-out of teen-themed flicks into more mature fare. It began at the Sundance Film Festival with a small role in Josh Radnor's dramedy "Liberal Arts" and was soon followed by the Nicholas Sparks romance "The Lucky One" which was an impressive double for Warner Bros. grossing $60 million domestic. In May, Efron made his Cannes Film Festival debut with Lee Daniels' polarizing drama "The Paperboy" where he reportedly held his own opposite co-stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaguhey and John Cusack. Before "Paperboy" finds its ways into theaters this October, Efron will make another trip across the atlantic to Italy for the Venice Film Festival premiere of Ramin Bahrani's drama "At Any Price."
Also starring Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham, the drama find Efron playing Henry Whipple, a young man who wants to map out his life as a professional race car driver. His father (Quaid), is at odds with Henry as he needs help him expand the family farming business. When the family's business practices are investigated, both men are pushed into an unexpected conflict that cost the family everything.
"Price" is also set to screen at the Toronto Film Festival, but one distributor has gone out of their way to acquire "Price" before it plays at either festival. In a late Friday press release, Sony Pictures Classics announced it will release "Price" domestically and in Eastern Europe.
In a statement, Sony Pictures Classics said, ""Ramin Bahrani is a major American film maker. We've wanted to work with him for some time. He is a great storyteller not afraid of serious or big subjects. When we read 'At Any Price' we knew this would be a great leap forward for him as a successful director offering great roles for major actors. We are so happy to be bringing the film to the American audience and to be in business with him and his prolific producers Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, Teddy Schwarzman, Justin Nappi and Kevin Turen,"
It appears that quote should be attributed to co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard as Bahrani noted, "I am very happy to be working with Michael, Tom, and Sony Pictures Classics who have been releasing some of the most important films for over two decades."
There is no set release date for "Price" yet, but the pick up is just in time for awards season. Classics already has "Rust and Bone," Susanne Bier's "Love is All You Need," "No" with Gael Garcia Bernal and Michael Haneke's "Armour" set for platform release before the end of the year or in early 2012. Whether "Price" provides the sort of buzz worthy performances that make a quick fall or winter release prudent, however, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Efron will soak up the global paparazzi one more time as the almost 25-year-old continues his campaign to prove his naysayers who tried to categorize him as just a teen heartthrob wrong.