Zac Efron confronts a clown in Neighbors 2

Zac Efron might soon be putting his muscles to non-fratbro use, as Variety reports that the sinewy star of the upcoming Baywatch movie is in talks to appear in the circus founder biopic, The Greatest Showman On Earth. If all goes well, Efron will play a trapeze artist or something opposite Hugh Jackman, who’s starring as the titular showman, P.T. Barnum. The Barnum & Bailey circus founder was also an author and politician, and the story of his life will be told in song in the musical from Jenny Bicks (Rio 2, Sex And The City).

The Greatest Showman On Earth has been in pre-production since 2009, but it’s not clear what delayed the project. Fox is developing the movie, and has tapped Michael Gracey, who’s also working on a live-action Naruto film, to direct. The film is a “major priority” for Fox, on account of all those X-Men movies that Jackman’s made. Efron cut his teeth on High School Musicals, so he should have no trouble joining Jackman for a chorus or two. His role hasn’t been announced, but Efron’s a little too bulky to play General Tom Thumb, a dwarf who was a distant relative of Barnum’s. (He became one of the circus’ greatest attractions after he was adopted/exploited by the showman.) Obviously, the Dirty Grandpa actor should be cast as one of the Ringling Bros.