Clearly, playing an aspiring DJ touched a nerve with the 27-year-old actor, whose career began as the singing-dancing star of High School Musical and Hairspray.

He remembers his introduction to We Are Your Friends, watching a sizzle reel before he even read the script. "I think what was on my mind at that moment, and what's always on my mind when I first meet for a project, is what does it mean to me," he says. "I was just caught up in how much I was really engaged with the material. And that's always scary, because it feels like you might be committing to something."

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And this feeling of connection continued into the production. "While we were making the movie, I knew that we were telling a story that I just knew," he says. "It represented what I was going through at a certain time of my life. I just hope it means something to a lot of people."

More: Read our review of We Are Your Friends

For Efron, music and movies naturally go together. "Music can be the pulse of a film," he notes. And this movie also got him dancing. "They wanted to bring in a choreographer, and I remember sitting with [costar Emily Ratajkowski] and she was like 'Let's just go do it!' Yeah, she was awesome. She was like, 'Yeah, no choreographer. We're good.'"

Zac Efron stars alongside Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer & Jonny Weston

Despite connecting with his character, he doesn't think he has a new career behind the decks. "I probably won't be DJing or hosting any club things," he laughs. "I'm pretty busy with work at the moment. My life has been such a whirlwind. I think as long as I'm learning and growing and continuing on my path, I'm figuring out who I am. I feel alive. I think now more than ever I have a true sense of who I am and what I aspire to do, and that's a good feeling!"