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Zac Efron to play Ted Bundy in psychological thriller

(Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
(Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Zac Efron’s long since graduated from High School Musicals; lately, he’s been seen leading off-campus ragers in the two Neighbors movies, and landing a role in the upcoming The Greatest Showman On Earth. But his latest project will see him venture into psychological thriller territory with one of the Paradise Lost documentary makers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Efron has nabbed the lead role in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile. Joe Berlinger, who’s co-helmed the Paradise Lost movies about the West Memphis Three with Bruce Sinofsky, is directing the film, which has a Black List-approved script from Michael Werwie.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile will see Efron embodying the qualities in its Oxford comma-free title as real-life serial killer Ted Bundy. The story will be told from the perspective of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, who only faced the truth about her murderous boyfriend as his execution drew near and he revealed the extent of his proclivities. The project will be up for bid at Cannes this week.

If you think Efron is a strange choice for the role, let COTA Films producer Michael Costigan reassure you that he is “perfect casting, as he can play both the depth and the charm that this guy had in equal measures, and which allowed him to manipulate these women in such a terrifying way. We think in the vein of Nightcrawler or even The Jinx, we are making a psychological thriller that will resonate deeply with audiences.” There’s also the fact that Bundy was reportedly a charming guy, though he probably never did a tailgate striptease.

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