Hacked Emails Reveal Sony Execs Don't Think Zac Efron Is a 'Comedy Star'

by Stacy Lambe 8:01 AM PDT, May 01, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

The "Sony Hack" continues to be a black eye for the studio as Wikileaks adds thousands of more emails that were first released by hackers back in December.

In the latest discovery, ETonline learned that former co-chairman Amy Pascal and other Sony employees were not fans of Zac Efron and Robert De Niro’s upcoming comedy, Dirty Grandpa then titled Driving Dick Kelly.

“A few laughs here and there, but overall a definite pass for me,” one employee wrote in an email to Pascal in September of 2014, adding: “I think guys in my generation don't really look to Zac Efron as a comedy star.”

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In another email, an employee said Efron -- who last starred in the wildly successful Neighbors with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne -- is “best when he is the straight-ish guy tossed into funny, absurdist situations.”

The revelation comes after the film garnered a bunch of media attention thanks to paparazzi photos showing Efron exposing his abs in a fringe crop top and appearing nearly nude on set. This was similar to the hype surrounding Neighbors when photos were snapped of Efron in bulge-hugging outfits during filming. That film ended up making $268 million at the box office.

Photo: FameFlynet

De Niro didn’t fare much better. One email said audiences don’t want to see the 71-year-old actor playing the aging grandfather who tricks his grandson into driving him to Florida. “His [character’s] antics feel sweaty and like raunch for raunch's sake,” an employee wrote.

Ultimately, Pascal “couldn’t agree more” with her team’s assessment, passing on the project. 

Is this a bad omen for Efron’s new film, or did Sony pass on a potential box office hit? 

Dirty Grandpa, which co-stars Adam Pally, Aubrey Plaza, and Julianne Hough, is scheduled to hit theaters on August 12, 2016 and is being distributed by Lionsgate.

Meanwhile Pascal resigned from her post as co-chairman following the hack, which made public unflattering emails between her and producer Scott Rudin. Later, when Wikileaks first uploaded documents from the hack, it was revealed that Ben Affleck wanted his slave-owner ancestry omitted from a PBS special and that employees didn't know who singer Rita Ora was.