Here’s why Zac Efron was chosen to play Ted Bundy in new film

'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile' sees the former 'High School Musical' actor portray the serial killer

The director of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile has revealed why he chose Zac Efron to play the lead role of serial killer Ted Bundy.

Bundy confessed to killing 30 women between 1974 and 1978, although it is thought the number of victims could be higher. He was sent to the electric chair in 1989.

The new film explores the criminal’s story through the personal narrative of his ex-fiancée Elizabeth Kloepfer. Speaking to TMZ, director Joe Berlinger said Efron had been his first choice to portray the killer. “First of all, I would have never hired Zac to play the role if he wasn’t a fantastic actor,” he said.

He continued: “All the trade reviews said that this is a career-changing performance for him so, from an acting standpoint, he deserved it. But Bundy operated by deceiving his victims because he was good-looking and charming. So who better to portray and embody that very dynamic?”

Efron will be joined in the movie by Lily Collins as Elizabeth, John Malkovich (Judge Edward Cowart), Haley Joel Osment (Detective Jerry Thompson), and Metallica’s James Hetfield, who makes a cameo as arresting officer Bob Hayward.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile was picked up by Netflix after premiering at Sundance Film Festival last month, with the streaming platform paying $9 million for the film. No firm release date has been announced at present but it is expected to be given a full theatrical release this autumn.

Meanwhile, a Bundy survivor has spoken out about the movie, saying it “glorifies” the notorious killer “more than he should be.” Kathy Kleiner Rubin was attacked by Bundy when she was 20 years old.

“I don’t have a problem with people looking at it, as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person,” she said. “I believe that in order to show him exactly the way he was, it’s not really glorifying him, it’s showing him.”