Zac Efron lobbies White House for arts


Teen heartthrob Zac Efron was at the White House on Tuesday but he met with administration officials instead of the first daughters.

Efron was joined by actor Claire Danes and director Richard Linklater on the visit, where the trio pressed for more funding for the arts in public schools.

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There was speculation that Efron, who has an enormous following among teenage girls, might meet first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama, but the girls were in school during the tour.

Efron's films reportedly have been screened at the White House, but Danes joked that "Michelle didn't let them play sick today."

Earlier this year, the Obama daughters received a surprise visit from the three members of the teen superstar band The Jonas Brothers.

In the absence of Obama family members (President Barack Obama and the first lady were in Texas attending a memorial service at Fort Hood), the group met with administration officials as part of their outreach on behalf of Americans for the Arts.

Among the officials they met with was Kal Penn, the actor who left Hollywood to join the administration.

All three were impressed with their visit.

"I'd never been to the White House before," said Danes, joking, "Unlike L.A., they actually do real things there!"

"I admire anyone who has devoted their lives to public service," Efron said.

Linklater is also an Obama fan. "It's great to have a president with such obvious empathy," he said. "You can see it in his books, his speeches and hopefully his politics, although I know that we've got to be patient."

The trio is in Washington for the premiere of the film "Me and Orson Welles," directed by Linklater and starring Danes and Efron.

Also on the group's agenda is a reception sponsored by the Impact Arts and Film Fund, followed by a screening and Q&A with audience members.