You would never have guessed it when you were watching High School Musical that Zac Efron would one day be one of our most renowned serial killers of all time. Then again, I probably wouldn’t have pegged him for young Matthew Perry. However, he is about to really show off his acting chops this year in a movie star performance if there ever was one. Using his dramatic muscles, Efron will play none other than serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile.
Ted Bundy was a serial killer, active from at least 1974 until 1978. During that time, he beat, kidnapped, abused, raped, and murdered at least 36 women. Some estimates put the numbers much higher. He was eventually captured in Florida, where he was found guilty and put to death in 1989. For those who know the story of Bundy, the casting of Efron is not a surprise. Part of what made Bundy a national phenomenon were his good looks and charming demeanor. He was so good looking, many women flocked to his trial to get a look at him, and he even proposed to one woman while she was testifying about his character (they went on to have a child). In that regard, Efron is perfect casting. Even more surprising, Efron actually looks quite a bit like Bundy. The resemblance is rather uncanny, and only further adds to the ceiling of what this movie.
The real secret weapon of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile will be the director. Joe Berlinger, traditionally a documentary filmmaker, chose this project as his rare trip into narrative storytelling. He went very deep down the Ted Bundy rabbit hole. He felt the story of Bundy was so compelling, he also directed the four-part Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes for Netflix. In an act of synergy, that series released on Netflix yesterday. Berlinger also directed the documentaries Brother’s Keeper and Paradise Lost, each of which has been considered a classic for years. He received his sole Oscar nomination for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory in 2011. With a true crime afficenado directing the film, he could capture lightning in a bottle.
The official synopsis of the film can be found below:
1969. Ted (Zac Efron) is crazy-handsome, smart, charismatic, affectionate. And cautious single mother Liz Kloepfer (Lily Collins) ultimately cannot resist his charms. For her, Ted is a match made in heaven, and she soon falls head over heels in love with the dashing young man. A picture of domestic bliss, the happy couple seems to have it all figured out … until, out of nowhere, their perfect life is shattered. Ted is arrested and charged with a series of increasingly grisly murders. Concern soon turns to paranoia—and, as evidence piles up, Liz is forced to consider that the man with whom she shares her life could actually be a psychopath.
In addition to Efron and Lily Collins, the film also stars John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, and Jeffrey Donovan.
What do you think of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile? Are you excited to see the upcoming film on the serial killer? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Check out our review of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes here. The Netflix documentary series is also directed by Joe Berlinger.
The film premieres at Sundance Film Festival this weekend, so check back for a release date later in the year!