Why The Barbarian Movie Cast Justin Long Over Zac Efron

Exclusive: The director of the upcoming horror film Barbarian, Zach Cregger, discusses why he cast Justin Long over Zac Efron.

Barbaric Director Zach Cregger discusses his casting choices for the horror film, explaining why he chose Justin Long over Zac Efron for the role of Cale. The thriller premiered this year at San Diego Comic-Con to rave reviews. A 20th Century Studios and New Regency production, Barbaric centers on Tess, a young woman who travels to Detroit for a job interview and books a rental house for the night. When she learns that the house was double-booked, she stays with a stranger despite her reluctance and is finally subjected to frightening phenomena within the dwelling.

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Georgina Campbell plays the lead role of Tess, with Bill Skarsgård as the mysterious house guest, Keith. Barbaric director Zach Cregger made a cameo in his own film as Everett, and Justin Long stars as the deuteragonist in the film. Long was only seen briefly in Barbaric‘s trailer, so her role remains largely a mystery. Despite Long’s key role in the film, he wouldn’t have been Cregger’s first choice for the part, with Zac Efron initially being considered for the role of Cale.

Related: Firestarter Continues A Boring Career Trend For Zac Efron

In an exclusive conversation with Screen Rant during a recent screening, Cregger describes his thought process when deciding who should play Barbaric‘ladder. Although he initially planned for Efron to take on the role, he explains why he changed his mind. See his comments below:


I wrote this guy, [and] I think we originally pitched it to Zac Efron, because I thought I wanted to go for some kind of beef himbo. No diss on Zac Efron, but that’s how he describes himself a lot. I was just thinking jawline, biceps, and a haircut. Then he said no, that’s why I talk so much bullshit about him. [Laughs] No, he’s awesome. I wanted him to do the movie.

But when he passed, I had time to think. We were making a list of people to go to, and I just realized I had thought about the role wrong… Not that big Alpha guy, more of a Tom Hanks guy. . And so, I was like, ‘Who is Tom Hanks? Justin Long is Tom Hanks. Let’s do this.’ That’s how it happened.

Cregger’s words offer fascinating insight into the decisions behind the casting. Although he would have been satisfied if Efron had taken the role, as he mentions, the fact that Efron passed on the role made Cregger think more deeply about his film, which resulted in an ultimately more interesting casting choice. . His portrayal of Long as Tom Hanks is also intriguing and perhaps a predictor of Long’s career in the future. Hanks is obviously a movie industry juggernaut. Beloved for his ordinary portrayal of complex characters, he won two Oscars and seven Emmys during his illustrious career. Long already has an impressive amount of credits under her belt and has recently turned more towards writing and directing, as well as bigger roles.


Barbaric should be an interesting opportunity for Long to stretch his acting skills. Best known for his lighter fare, Long will have to go somewhere darker for this twisty flick. Cregger wrote and directed Barbaric, cementing his authority when it comes to the right casting choices for all characters. The thriller is sure to add a layer of suspicion to tenants of housing and shared spaces everywhere, as this industry becomes more mainstream. Scheduled for next month, Barbaric promises to be a unique thrill ride.

Key release date

  • Barbarian Movie Poster


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