From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
AGE: 23
BIRTHDAY: NOV. 23
PLAYS: DRAMA KING RYAN EVANS

HOW HAS HSM CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

[Laughs] Before HSM I worked at Blockbuster. It's weird, I had a meeting at Disney the other day and I was sitting across from this guy and over his shoulder was a giant HSM2 poster. So I'm staring at myself as I'm pitching him. That kind of eased the nerves a little bit.

WHAT MAKES HSM3 DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER MOVIES?

We went from shooting the High School Musical 1 number "Bop to the Top" on just a black stage with a gold ladder to the High School Musical 3 number "I Want It All," which looks like a million dollars were spent on it. It was a complete redo of the cafeteria—new walls, new floors, new lights, neon strung from everywhere and hundreds and hundreds of extras. It was a huge difference. But the monumental energy that HSM has was there from the beginning.

DID YOU PUT ANY OF THE NEW HSM ACTORS THROUGH A HAZING PROCESS?

No! The only person we played pranks on was Zac. We got him with a complete water invasion—water guns, buckets. We completely soaked him.

ANY PAYBACKS?

It was at the end of filming, so no time!

WHAT HAVE YOU SPLURGED ON LATELY?

Musical instruments. I have a keyboard and a couple of synthesizers. I play guitar and bass and I've got an accordion and a bunch of harmonicas. Plus I just got a banjo, a violin and a guitar that are all over 100 years old. My mind is always moving, and I have to be doing something, so when I'm walking by all these instruments, I just pick one up and start playing.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?

I'd hope that in 10 years my time in front of the camera decreases and the time behind the camera increases. As the opportunities come for me to produce and direct movies myself, I think I'll take a step back from acting.

YOU JUST FINISHED MAKING A FILM WITH SEAN PENN. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

It was amazing. It was intimidating to be in a scene with him—I didn't know what to expect. But on the first day he came out without any pants on and we all started cracking up and it was like all right: "We're here to have fun and create something really special."

IS THERE ONE ACTOR YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?

There are a lot of actors I think are brilliant. I like Christopher Guest as a director. I like all of his mockumentaries like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Waiting for Guffman is my favorite movie of all time.

ARE YOU RELIEVED THAT THE PAPARAZZI DON'T FOLLOW YOU AROUND?

[Laughs] There's no demand for my picture because I'm just as normal as other people. I just try to be happy and that's all I really worry about. The things that bring on more celebrity don't make me happy. I'm not an attention-seeking guy.

ARE YOU GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO MARK THE END OF HSM?

I shave my head after any movie where I have to be a certain something every day for so long. I get to a point where I want to look different.