Zac Efron Passed On Playing A Young Matthew Perry Again, But Not In A 17 Again Sequel

Matthew Perry wants to be "17 Again" again. The "Friends" and "Go On" actor went on SiriusXM's Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw this week to talk about his new book. In the memoir, titled "Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing," Perry mentions projects he has in the works, and Shaw asked him for some specifics about his unproduced film ideas. Perry then spilled the news that he wrote a script for a rom-com that he'd hoped would land a lead in Zac Efron. The film isn't related to the 2009 fantasy romance the pair starred in together, but would mark an on-screen reunion for the two, as Perry wrote himself a small role as well.

"I finished a screenplay that we're out with to some people. I want to direct that," Perry said on the podcast. "I have a small part in it. I wrote it for myself, and then realized I'm 20 years too old to play this. So we're trying to cast the leads now." Naturally, when it comes to figuring out who could play a younger version of a role he originally had for himself, Perry thought of the actor who has played a younger version of himself: "High School Musical" star Efron. Except, apparently Efron turned Perry down, so the rom-com has yet to find its leads.

Perry also spoke to Aubrey Plaza about a role

"Well, it was Zac Efron," the actor revealed when asked about dream casting for the film. "But he said no. So we've got to find somebody who says yes." He also revealed that Aubrey Plaza "came very close" to playing the main character's love interest. Perry says the role "would have been perfect for her because I think she's great," adding that "there's some dramatic stuff" in the film as well.

Plaza has been pretty busy lately, starring in TV shows "The White Lotus" and "Little Demon" and the Sundance favorite "Emily the Criminal." She's also set to appear in Marvel's "Agatha: Coven of Chaos." Efron too has a tight schedule: he starred in the recent "Firestarter" remake and "The Greatest Beer Run Ever" this year, and is currently filming "The Iron Claw."

The film, which Perry did not mention by name on the podcast, would mark the directorial debut for Perry, who most famously played Chandler Bing in the beloved sitcom "Friends" before going on to act in projects like "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and "The Good Wife." As much as I'm interested to see what Perry's directing career would look like, it seems like this project is still in the early stages, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

The actor's book tour has already led to plenty of unexpected headlines, as when passages of the memoir shared by Variety seemed to reveal that he had some inexplicable — and surprisingly dark – beef with Keanu Reeves. Perry walked back his choice to mention Reeves by name when lamenting how the actor was still walking around when others like River Phoenix had died, telling People, "I just chose a random name, my mistake. I apologize."