Zac Efron speaks out over criticism of his role as Ted Bundy in new film
Zac Efron is not necessarily the first actor you would think of when you were trying to bring a deranged serial killer to the screen, but in the case of Ted Bundy, it may just have worked. He was recently cast as the infamous murderer in the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which premiered last weekend, but not everybody was happy about it.
Many took issue with Efron, one of this century's biggest Hollywood heartthrobs, playing a potentially romanticised version of someone who took dozens of lives - perhaps not realising that charm and good looks were one of the reasons that Bundy became a household name.
In a recent interview with Variety, Efron revealed that his parents were freaked out when they found out he was considering the role. He originally had some reservations about the part, but was too intrigued to turn it down - and part of this intrigue came from the fact that Bundy was able to trick so many people into thinking that he couldn't possibly have committed any crime:
"Ted had this thing about him, this magic Ted Bundy facade. He has charm. The way he worked with people, the people in prison with him loved him, cops that knew him seemed to think he was an okay guy.
"It wasn't until after he fully admitted to everything that most of the world really believed Ted was even capable of these things. He pulled the wool over a lot of people's eyes."
While many Twitter users lamented that many people were "sexualising" and "romanticising" a man who had committed horrific crimes, seeing Efron's movie as a part of this problem.
Many others took issue with this stance.
According to the actor, however, this wasn't the case for this film.
"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.”
At the time of his trial, Bundy was described by many as being charming and handsome, traits he used to lure in his victims - and this is part of what Efron tried to emulate. Calling the man "the first mass manipulator of the world," Efron told E! News:
"The most exciting thing for me was being able to sort of lend that Ted Bundy charisma to the part. I hope that comes across the most.
"People that watched the trial, that were with him in prison, on his defense team, anybody who knew him growing up, they never had bad things to say about the guy. Not a single person. And all the way to the very end of his trial when he was finally found guilty, a lot of people still didn't believe it...it's kinda crazy."