EFRON HITS A BOYLE-ING POINT: Gert Boyle has never seen one of Zac Efron’s movie, but she still gave the actor golden reviews after shooting a new campaign with him for Columbia Sportswear.
Efron “was the one on the payroll,” but he brought along his equally outdoorsy brother Dylan to help shoot a video that will break on the company’s site Aug. 15. “It will be on Facebook and all the other funny stuff that I don’t know about,” Boyle said Thursday.
Living up to her “One Tough Mother” persona from Columbia ads, Boyle wasn’t about to give away the premise of the short film. “What was the set-up? Well, we paid him,” she said. “You’ll just have to wait and see. It’s really funny. He and his brother come to say, ‘We’d like to test your garments,’ because we have this Tested Tough [seal of approval]. As a matter of fact, someone who works at Columbia called me to say to watch it, you had to bring a new set of underwear.”
As their social media followers can attest, the Efrons are genuinely into trout hunting, trail running, cliff jumping and other weekend warrior activities. (Earlier this summer, Dylan posted about how having two broken ribs, three fractured vertebrae and a fractured tailbone would not deter him from exercising. “The activity promotes the healing process both physically and mentally,” he posted.) The Efron brothers also know their way around Columbia’s home state since their Oregonian grandparents live in Bend.
Referring to the “Baywatch” star, Boyle said, “He’s actually from California. From what I understand, he was born there. You know there’s actually a big gap between his age and mine so I didn’t really know too terribly much about him until he started to work here.”
At 93, Boyle has 64 years on the actor and singer. That being what it is, Boyle sounded like a swooner after meeting the red carpet regular. “They were absolutely the nicest, most charming guys. I’ll tell you how nice he was. We did this commercial and then he sent me a letter that said, ‘Thank you so much for having had a good time doing this commercial and allowing him to do it. That’s class, huh?” Boyle said. “I thought that was really nice because we’ve done commercials with a lot of people — Macklemore most recently — and I’ve never gotten a note from any of them saying thank you for hiring us.”
Fan girlish as Boyle sounded she has yet to see “High School Musical,” “Hairspray,” “Dirty Grandpa” or any of the other 25 flicks Efron has acted in. “Isn’t that terrible? I’ve seen his picture in ‘Baywatch’ ads. But he is very nice young man so it was a lot of fun to do it.” But Boyle will have another shot at seeing his acting skills when “The Greatest Showman” is released later this year. That box-office musical with Hugh Jackman and Zendaya might be more Boyle’s speed than Efron’s next movie project – “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” in which he will portray the serial killer Ted Bundy whose victims included Oregon State University students.
Reached in her office at Columbia’s headquarters in Portland, the nonagenarian Boyle said she has no plans to retire. “My birthday is in March so I’m sort of halfway from here to there. I’m absolutely still working. That’s where you got me. I am sitting here at my desk. I’m here everyday. You know, it’s much better than staying home with a bunch of old people,” Boyle said.
Boyle’s son Tim, the brand’s chief executive officer, is within walking distance most days. For many years, the no-BS businesswoman held that same post, first taking it on at the age of 47 in 1970. As for whether she still runs the show at the $2.38 billion company, she said, “I’d like to think I did, but there are a lot of people here who think they do. But you know how it goes. The thing is if you yell loud enough, they’ll finally hear you.”
Boyle is also loud and clear about encouraging others to keep on working. “Absolutely — you just wait until you get to be 93 and someone says, ‘Hey, you know you’ve done this stuff and you have all this knowledge and we don’t need you any more. Well, that’s a bunch of hogwash. You can learn something from everybody. And besides that, I have the advantage of part ownership.”