A Family Affair: Is Chris Cole Based on a Real Actor?

Image Credit: Tina Rowden/Netflix

In Netflix’s ‘A Family Affair,’ the affair between her boss and her mother upends Zara’s life, especially when she knows what a tormentor her boss can be. It isn’t just the age difference between them or the fact that Zara’s mother hasn’t really dated since her father’s death. Zara is more concerned about the fact that her boss, movie star Chris Cole, is a heartbreaker who swoops women into a dreamy romance, love-bombs them, and then leaves them as quickly as he wooed them.

Due to the nature of Chris and Zara’s job, we see many things related to film production in the background, which allows the real-life actors to get into the skin of their roles. For actor Zac Efron, playing Chris Cole was easy because he already had a lot of common ground with him. SPOILERS AHEAD

Zac Efron Brought His Experience as a Famous Actor Into Chris’ Role

In ‘A Family Affair,’ Chris Cole is made famous by a series of super hit films that launched him into stardom. For Efron, too, it was a movie series whose popularity catapulted him into stardom. The ‘High School Musical’ star has been a heartthrob since he donned the role of Troy Bolton, and his familiarity with all the things that come with the package of being a movie star helped him empathize with Chris Cole.

The actor stated that he has spent enough time in the film industry by now to have either experienced, seen, or heard about the things shown in the film, especially when it comes to Chris’ treatment of his assistant, Zara. He also underlined how being in the public eye can separate a person from the general sense of reality in some ways; for example, Chris reveals that he hasn’t been to a store since he became famous. Efron says he related that with that part in some sense, being a famous person himself. In the same vein, being constantly chased by the paparazzi and having every aspect of their lives scrutinized under the public eye is also something Efron could relate to with Chris.

The actor also mentioned how the experience of working on a set informed his performance in the scenes where Chris is shooting for his movie ‘Icarus.’ This familiarity with the set-up allowed him and his co-stars to improvise the scenes, bringing their own bits to make things more fun. He revealed that the writer and the director were very open about the idea of changing things up a little bit and made the process of making ‘A Family Affair’ highly collaborative.

Image Credit: Tina Rowden/Netflix

Another thing that Efron brought into the movie was an already-established chemistry with Nicole Kidman. The actors have worked together in a 2012 movie called ‘The Paperboy.’ Having known each other since then, Efron and Kidman had a comfort level that allowed their chemistry to shine while playing Chris and Brooke. Director Richard LaGravenese revealed that the spark they were looking for in Chris and Brooke was immediately there once Efron and Kidman appeared together. Their previous familiarity with each other helped them dig deeper into the relationship of the characters.

Considering how much of his own life Efron tapped into to play Chris, the audience might assume that Chris is, in a way, a different version of him. However, Efron highlighted that these similarities were limited to his experience as an actor, and he is quite different from Chris regarding the finer things. So, even though he did a great job presenting him as a realistic character, Chris Cole remains an entirely fictional person.

Read More: Netflix’s A Family Affair: Is the Movie Rooted in Reality?