Zac Efron discusses mental health problems due to ‘perfect’ Baywatch body

Zac Efron
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Zac Efron has opened up about the toll that getting into shape for the Baywatch movie took upon his overall wellbeing.

Zac Efron is one of those actors who tends to look screen-ready for the films in which he appears. As an actor whose career certainly hasn’t been hurt by his appearance though, it’s refreshing to hear him talk about the impact of trying to appear aesthetically perfect onscreen. The film in question that Efron has been discussing is 2017’s Baywatch, a movie remake of the 1990s TV show about a group of Californian lifeguards.

Whilst the film did okay business at the box office, it’s a fairly throwaway action comedy, but for Efron the toll that the film exacted from him was far from light. Speaking to Men’s Health, the actor has opened up about the nauseating reality of attaining a 'Baywatch body’, revealing, “That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake, it looks CGI’d. And that requires Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don’t need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, two to three percent of body fat.”

Efron would also discuss the after-effects of the process, adding, “I started to develop insomnia and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time re-centering”.

It’s a worrying admission, and one that makes you wonder how many other action stars put themselves through this kind of process to attain the bodies that they do. Negative body image amongst men is on the rise, with the prevalence of ‘perfect’ bodies on cinema screens often being cited as one of the key reasons. Kumail Nanjiani revealed last year that he transformed his body for The Eternals, despite director Chloe Zao asking him not to, hinting at the pressure actors (and subsequently, their fans) feel to look a certain way.

Hopefully, Efron’s brave admission will spark a long-overdue discussion in this arena, but we fear not. Still, it’s a big step forwards in the right direction. Efron can next be seen in the Apple movie, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, alongside Russell Crowe.

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