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The actor, who tragically died Oct. 28 of an apparent drowning in his hot tub, had spoken to his friend Athenna Crosby the day before about an interesting project. Crosby says that Perry, 54, told her he wanted none other than Zac Efron to portray a younger version of himself.
“He said that he wanted to make a movie about his life,” Crosby told “Entertainment Tonight” on Wednesday. “He had worked with Zac Efron in the past on a movie, and he said that he wanted Zac Efron to play him as a younger version and that he was gonna ask him soon to do that.”
In 2009, Perry and Efron co-starred in “17 Again,” a body-swap comedy in which they play younger and older versions of the same character. The film centers on a high school basketball star who cast his dreams aside, but later gets a second chance.
“He was just looking forward to sharing more about his story and his recovery from addiction, and really championing that cause to help more people, so he was so optimistic and happy about everything that he wanted to do,” Crosby told ET.
A representative for Efron did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Zac Efron, Leslie Mann and Matthew Perry at the "17 Again" premiere in Los Angeles.
Crosby, a model, made headlines after it was reported she’d had lunch with Perry at the Hotel Bel-Air one day before he died. The actor was found dead at his Los Angeles home on Saturday at about 4 p.m. Crosby paid tribute to him in an Instagram Story.
“I wasn’t going to speak about this but what I will say is I had the honor of knowing Matthew personally,” Crosby wrote on Instagram, per “ET.” “I am so devastated from his death but felt it was in poor taste to talk about it publicly as... he was an extremely private person.”
Crosby told “ET” that Perry “was doing great” and “cracking jokes” over lunch when she spoke to him last week — and that he “was very optimistic about the future.”
She added that Perry, who chronicled his lifelong struggle with substance misuse in a 2022 memoir, “was talking about how there’s been a public resurgence of interest in him lately” — and that he hoped “to utilize that to have a second act in his career.”
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.