Zac Efron Reveals What It Was Really Like to Play Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’

Netflix is expanding its Ted Bundy library with a highly-anticipated movie starring Zac Efron as the infamous serial killer. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile offers true crime fans a different perspective on Ted Bundy as it chronicles his life from the eyes of his long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins), who struggled to believe his heinous crimes. The film is based on Kloepfer’s memoir The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy and is set to premiere on May 3, 2019.

Zac Efron as Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’

Zac Efron
Zac Efron | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

While promoting the biopic, Zac Efron revealed to Metro what it was really like to play Ted Bundy, the serial killer responsible for the murders of at least 30 women in the 1970s. When asked about his own mental health while filming the movie, Efron said “that was put to the test for this one.”

“I’ve never played a role in which I have to separate myself. It was almost impossible,” he told the publication. “I would like to say I did that successfully, but I couldn’t,” he added.

Mental health played a huge role in Zac Efron’s portrayal of Ted Bundy and it was often a dance between his own emotions and the serial killer’s. “You have to be careful for your own emotions, your own safety,” he told Movie Web. “This is a movie that I didn’t go too method, I was able to compartmentalize myself and leave him on set, in the jail cell — most days,” he added.

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ reviews

Ahead of the movie release date, Zac Efron has received quite a bit of praise for his role in the film, which first premiered at Sundance 2019. However, that hasn’t stopped critics from claiming the unique take on the film glamorizes the infamous murderer.

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Extremely excited about this…

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At the London premiere, Zac Efron defended the film’s perspective, stating: “I wasn’t interested in playing a serial killer. I’m not in the business of glamorizing such a horrendous person or his acts. But there is something unique about the way going into the psyche of Ted and his longtime girlfriend Liz. It’s a different perspective and not your run-of-the-mill serial killer, cliche, body count gets higher and higher and ‘oh the guy you always knew did it’ [film]. It was what it was like to be there on the day.”

The film’s director, Joe Berlinger (who also directed The Ted Bundy Tapes) also came to the movie’s defense in a previous statement. “I am of course very troubled that the trailer may be giving some people the false impression that our movie in any way romanticizes the actions of this horrendous serial killer, so I want to assure those concerned that our film in no way glorifies Bundy or his atrocious acts, nor was the trailer intended to give that impression,” he told Buzzfeed News.

The Netflix movie currently has a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with reviews like “Despite early accusations that Berlinger’s film seeks to glorify Bundy, the truth is that he’s actually shining a light on our seemingly endless fascination with serial killers.” And, “Despite Zac Efron’s performance, the film’s humorous take on a serial killer as a rock star doesn’t really work.”
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