Yes, yes, it's all fun and games promoting "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" until someone goes and drops a condom on the red carpet. But when TODAY's Matt Lauer confronted "Lorax" star (and prophylactic owner) Zac Efron about the gaffe, he got a little blush from the 24-year-old actor -- and a safe sex message in return.
But first he had to get him to say anything: Lauer asked Zefron to "take me through what happened" and the actor chuckled, rubbing his mouth, and said: "I don't want to take you through it."
Lauer persisted, and Efron admitted he did drop something: "I never really had a pocket-checking policy when I was going on the red carpet before, but now we've fully instated one."
So Lauer spelled it out: "You dropped a -- a condom on the red carpet."
"That was really hard for you to say!" shot back Efron, laughing.
Carpet antics aside, Efron noted that he was especially pleased to have been chosen to play the lead male role of Ted, a 12-year-old boy who pines for an older girl, Audrey, voiced by Taylor Swift, particularly since Theodor Geisel's (aka Dr. Seuss) wife sent him a letter specifically asking him to take on the role. "My dad was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss ... he's got an original copy of 'The Lorax' from like 1971 or someothing like that, so he read it to me growing up," said Efron. "It was a big part of my life and my education."
Clearly, educational opportunities abound in this film; as Lauer noted over the condom-dropping incident, it's better to be safe than sorry about such matters.
"That's a great message," said Efron. "To add to the many messages in the film."
"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" opens Friday.
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- FOX host attacks 'Lorax' as left-wing brainwashing
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- Watch the trailer for 'The Lorax'