Zac Efron on Staying Connected in the Digital World and Season 2 of ‘Down to Earth’

Actor Zac Efron holding fish
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for AT&T

In the spring of 2020, travel wasn’t particularly high on anybody’s to-do list. The COVID-19 pandemic had just emerged around the globe, and most of us were tethered to our couches. Things were bleak, but there was a lifeline for cooped-up globetrotters: Zac Efron’s Down to Earth, a show chronicling his journeys around the world in search of healthier, more sustainable ways of living. In its first season, Efron and his co-host, Darin Olien, traveled to places like Iceland, Puerto Rico, and the Amazon rainforest. The two met with innovators coming up with solutions to a wide range of issues, from pollution to hurricane recovery and more. The show became a surprise hit, and Season 2 is slated for release later this year.

But that’s not all Efron’s been up to. He also partnered with AT&T as part of the company’s Life, Gig-ified launch, a creative series highlighting AT&T’s upgraded fiber-optic network. As a part of the launch, he developed his own segment. We recently caught up with Efron to learn more about how he stays connected in an increasingly digital world and what’s coming next on Down to Earth.

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Men’s Journal: You partnered with AT&T for its Life, Gig-ified launch. How did you come up with the idea for your segment?

Zac Efron: I met with AT&T and the director, Ira Rosensweig. As we discussed the concept, it sort of took on a life of its own that we all loved…I think it’s a really fun concept and we had a great time doing it.

This launch is all about delivering more content at faster speeds. As a content creator, what does that mean for you?

Speed is huge for the creative process. One of the most challenging parts is the immediacy. Sometimes you’re putting out an hour-long piece of content you filmed yesterday, so every second of the process counts. The less time we have to spend waiting on uploads and downloads, the more time we get to make the content better.

From the rise of streaming platforms to TikTok to virtual reality, there have been so many recent changes in the way we create and experience entertainment. What do you think will be the next big thing? What are you most excited about?

I’m amazed at how quickly tech is changing. Whether I’m working on a film or television project or creating digital content, I want to stay up to date on the technology. I’m fascinated by consuming content in different forms and I love the idea this is a constantly evolving process. I don’t know what lies ahead but I’m excited to discover and utilize the next big thing.

Your show Down to Earth was a major hit. What inspired you to do the show?

It was a dream come true to travel the world and put the spotlight on some amazing people and places.

What was the best and the worst thing you ate in season one?

The homemade pasta in Italy was insane. I don’t think I had a bad meal on that trip. There might have been something iffy I had in Costa Rica.

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What’s it like working with Darin Olien on the show?

He’s one of my great mates and mentors. He’s taught me so much about living life to the fullest.

Will Down to Earth Season 2 be different from Season 1 in any major ways? Can you give us any hints

Season 2 has a focus on the environmental dilemmas we’re facing today. We met some great people with fascinating solutions.

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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