After a string of comedies, it looks like Hollywood hunk numero uno Zac Efron is stepping out of those red swimming shorts and donning something far more sinister. Efron has signed on to brand new drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile — a movie which follows the heinous crimes of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.
Academy Award nominee Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory) will direct the project which will show Bundy's seven-year murder spree through the eyes of his long-term and utterly devoted girlfriend Elizabeth "Liz" Kloepfer. For a long time Kloepfer refused to believe the truth about her boyfriend, sticking by him despite her suspicions and even after he was under investigation for aggravated assault. While in prison, #TedBundy told investigators that the one thing Liz would likely not forgive him for (despite everything he did to her) was incinerating the head of one of his victims in her fireplace, to which he added, "poor Liz." Bundy was executed by electric chair at Raiford Prison in Florida, on January 24, 1989.
Bundy was connected to the rape and murder of 36 women in several states throughout the 1970s. Having said this, some claim that he confessed to killing more than 100 people — men included. He was known for being incredibly charming and handsome, often luring his victims into a false state of security with his approachable persona. This primes #ZacEfron to be the perfect Bundy; however, this is a drastically different direction from anything Efron's done in the last few years. Is it possible that Efron might be too sexy for the role? When we all said he had killer abs this is not exactly what we meant.
Speaking to Variety about the casting announcement, producer Nicolas Chartier spoke highly of Efron's acting chops, and how he has faith that the actor will do the role justice:
“I have been trying to work with Zac Efron for a long time. From his dramatic turn in ‘Paperboy’ to his hilarious performance in ‘Neighbors,’ he continues to impress audiences and critics alike with his extraordinary versatility and range. We couldn’t be more excited to see him in this amazing role.”
The project was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, after Michael Werwie won the Nicholl Fellowships screenwriting contest for Extremely Wicked in 2012. The movie was snapped up from the Black List following the win by Voltage Pictures (Dallas Buyers Club, #Colossal) and Michael Costigan’s Cota Films.
Efron is not the first super-hot Hollywood A-lister to tackle the murky waters of society's darkest individuals. Martin Scorsese's The Devil in the White City — a movie about America's first and most bloodthirsty serial killer H. H. Holmes — landed Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role, and is currently in development. Charlize Theron's depiction of America's first female serial killer Eileen Wuornos in 2003's Monster won the actress critical acclaim. Former Disney Channel alum Ross Lynch will also be staring as a teenage Jeffery Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer, which has just been picked up for a North American release in the fall.
The movie has yet to complete its casting, and likely won't go into production until 2018. In the meantime, 2017 will provide us with some light-hearted Efron magic to sink our teeth into, including the highly anticipated ab-fest Baywatch, as well as a leading role in The Greatest Showman starring alongside Hugh Jackman.