May 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM ET
Last year had its ups and downs for Zac Efron, with ups that included shooting "Neighbors," his new movie with Dave Franco and Seth Rogen. The downs, however, included a rehab stint for substance abuse. But as he told TODAY's Matt Lauer Monday, talking about getting well in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview was "a weight off my chest."
"It was a rough year," he told Lauer. "It's kind of funny. 'Neighbors' is such a great sort of icing on the cake for all this. I was able to kind of channel all of that and put it back into this movie."
The movie — which pits a frat house full of college students against a young married couple with a baby — is a fresh approach to doing comedy, he said. "What's brilliant about Seth is sort of this new kind of breed of comedy that he's pioneered," said Efron. "Our generation identifies with it in a very real way."
Fans of Efron's "High School Musical" wholesomeness might want to prepare for a grown-up version of the actor, added Franco. "I'm really excited for Zac, just because I know a lot of people have this preconception of who he is," he said. "Once you see this movie, I think his teenybopper image is going to be completely shattered."
Meanwhile, Efron remains in high spirits about his life and new movie. "I feel really blessed to be here working with this group of guys," he said. "It couldn't be better right now."
"Neighbors" opens in theaters on Friday, and Seth Rogen will drop by TODAY on Wednesday.
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