Zac Efron has, for the first time, spoken out in an interview about the support of the gay community, and how grateful, and flattered he is by all of the attention.

Whilst promoting his new film, The Paperboy, which is to be released in October, the film star of Hairspray fame, addressed the mass of attention he receives from gay blogs, recently because of a scene in the new film in which he strips down to his underwear.

The High School Musical star said:

“It’s very flattering. After High School Musical and Hairspray, I’ve always felt embraced by the gay community, and I feel incredibly grateful and honored. This is actually a very special interview for me.

“I’m extremely aware of the support I’ve gotten from you guys over the years, and it’s amazing that it’s taken this long to sit down and actually discuss it, but please know that it hasn’t gone unappreciated. I’m so excited to be talking to you.

Playing a gay film role came up in the interview with the Advocate. He said:

“I’d never take a role just for the sake of playing gay, but I’m always looking for a role that’s challenging, different, and entails some risk, so there’s no doubt in my mind that one of those characters will be gay at some point in the future. It’s always interesting to delve into unexplored territory, and that would be a new avenue for me. I definitely wouldn’t be afraid.”

Marriage equality came up in the interview as well, Mr Efron said:

“It’s an issue that affects so many people in my life — a lot of my close friends and some of the most influential people around me. I just want them all to be happy. It would make me so happy to see them able to live their lives and do what they want to do.”

He talked about his young beginnings as an actor, and how he had always accepted gay people:

“I started doing local theatre so young — I was 12 — so to me, being gay was just another way that you can be. I never really had time to think about it or have any preconceived notions. I don’t judge anyone and I never have.”

The Paperboy, has received mixed initial reviews. Zac stars alongside Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey, and the film has been nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.