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Zac Efron on playing Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Last week we all were finally able to get a glimpse of Zac Efron as Ted Bundy in the trailer for director Joe Berlinger's EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE. And then the film hit Sundance and we were able to review with our own Chris Bumbray finding the film to be "a solid movie about Ted Bundy, but it falls short of excellence, and never transcends the docudrama genre." Fair enough. But what does Efron himself think about playing the notorious serial killer? Well, he just talked about that with Variety at Sundance and here's what he thought.

Zac Efron on playing Ted Bundy:

Initially, I had reservations about playing a serial killer. I’ve seen people make horror films like this before, and it seems like an aggressive play to separate yourself from a perceived image. And it’s got a lot of killing and hacking and slashing. I think I’ve seen that before too many times. This movie was really about a human being, somebody that perhaps I would have been friends with. And a love story from a very unique perspective. I’ve never seen that before. It’s intriguing to me. I think it’s more psychological and even more kind of a mindf–k.

Something clicked pretty early on, and it was kind of scary. It was that Ted and I had quite a bit in common in the way we carried ourselves. There are a few mannerisms. You can tell he’s a bit bashful. He’s kind of shy. He’s a well-spoken guy, but he hides his anxiety with a bit of a smile. I didn’t want to do too much of an impersonation.

As part of his research, Efron talked to people who knew Bundy:

A lot of them were shocked. They could not believe that such a strait-laced, pleasant, smart, smiling, calm individual was responsible for such horrendous, horrific crimes. And that makes him all the more fascinating because really he was loved by nearly everyone around him. Even people in prison enjoyed their time with Ted Bundy. I feel a responsibility to make sure that this movie is not a celebration of Ted Bundy. Or a glorification of him. But, definitely, a psychological study of who this person was. In that, there’s honesty.

And had to diet:

I lost 13 pounds. It was a rather large transformation and lifestyle change. I have a road bike that I ride around, well, everywhere. I put that on a stationary trainer and every morning, I would get up and cycle on that for an hour and watch something episodic like ‘Ozark.’ I wasn’t eating carbs. I kind of just trimmed down a lot and really controlled my diet.

Here's what director Joe Berlinger said about Efron as Bundy:

He has 37 million followers on Instagram and he’s one of the main heartthrobs for a certain age of young female. Because Bundy’s character is so wrapped up in his sex appeal and charm, I loved the idea of subverting Zac’s sex appeal and charm.

Sounds like an interesting take. Plus, the trailer really showcased just how much Efron can LOOK like Bundy. Now let's see how he pulls it off on screen. Hopefully, we'll be hearing news regarding a release date soon. Until then, here's the synopsis for those of you who may have forgotten:

Told through the perspective of Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy's longtime girlfriend who went years denying the accusations against Bundy, but ultimately turned him into the police. Only nearing his execution, when Bundy began talking about his extensive and heinous murders, did Kloepfer, and the rest of the world, learn the true scope of his numerous and grizzly murders.

EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE is directed by Berlinger (BLAIR WITCH 2) from a script by Michael Werwie and stars John Malkovich, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Angela Sarafyan, Jeffrey Donovan, Jim Parsons, Metallica's James Hetfield, and Efron as Ted Bundy. 

READ OUR REVIEW

Source: Variety

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