He's convinced himself that a photograph of an unknown woman served as a good luck charm during his time in Iraq.
The story brings up questions of fate, destiny and just plain luck.
Both Efron and his co-star, newcomer Taylor Schilling, believe there's something to the notion of luck.
"I think I'm on board with it, I think it's a bit of both, it's a bit of that fate and guiding force and a little bit of what you bring to the table," said Shilling.
Efron wanted to make sure he honored servicemen in the film. He and director Scott Hicks spent time at Camp Pendleton before shooting the movie.
"That was the day that really, the gravity of the character that I was stepping into really hit home for me, and I'll never forget that day," said Efron. "I've never been so scared in my life walking into Camp Pendelton, yeah, it was an eye opening experience."
Efron says he enjoys doing things that scare him. And in this film, that meant portraying a grown up and leaving his "High School Musical" image behind.
"I really enjoy doing things that are outside my wheelhouse, that are going to be a challenge, that are going to force me to grow, to change and that have a high chance of failure. That I could fail. Risk?That's what's fun," said Efron.
But that doesn't mean his musical days are over.
"It's been a wild ride. But I'll still do musicals. When I find the right one, I'll be right back there," he said.
You can see the PG-13 rated "The Lucky One" in theaters this weekend.