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The Second Son
The character of Dean, the underappreciated second son, traces a trajectory from rebel desperate to escape the family legacy to conspirator desperate to keep the legacy going. As Dean, ZAC EFRON takes on a classic archetype and makes it his own. The character of Dean, struggling to break free of small town roots and family obligations, demands formidable acting range and shades. Says Efron, "The key to Dean for me was to figure out the relationship with his father and brother -- resenting one and loving the other, his feelings of abandonment and his urge to break free. He's a renegade younger brother who wishes he could leave like his older brother did, but he's confused about his life and his place in the family. I enjoyed acting the dark side of Dean, and trusted Ramin to guide me through the experience."

Dean's dreams of stardom on the big-league racing circuit extend the story into another aspect of Americana -- and blast white-knuckle suspense and action into the movie's storyline. "Race cars are Dean's escape from the mundane," says Efron, who admits: "To be honest, racing scared the heck out of me. However, we had great instructors and after a few laps, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Driving the rally car through the cornfield was insane."

Although his character's name and plight might invoke another young actor who played the moody protagonist of EAST OF EDEN, Efron says, "I was really inspired by Paul Newman in HUD -- he's a prodigal son who's into fast cars too."

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