'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' Trailer: Zac Efron Becomes Ted Bundy

Biopics are rarely made about people who had a negative impact on society, but serial killers seem to be the exception to that rule; between Michael Rooker’s portrayal of Henry Lee Lucas in “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” Jeremy Renner’s star-making turn in “Dahmer,” and Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning role as Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” playing a serial killer can offer an actor some of the best material of their entire careers. That’s why it’s so exciting to see Zac Efron turn away from broad comedy to play infamous killer Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” which is having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Efron, known for his roles in “High School Musical,” “Neighbors,” and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” has dabbled in drama before in his career, but has yet to tackle a character as complex as the infamously charming Bundy, who killed thirty people over the course of four years from 1974 to 1978. It remains to be seen how well Efron will pull off the tightrope walk between likeability and having a terrifying presence, but if the film’s title is any indication, it should at least have a strong foothold in the latter category.

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The film will be shown through the eyes of Bundy’s girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, played here by Lily Collins, who struggled to grasp the extent of her boyfriend’s crimes. The film is directed by documentarian and true-crime pioneer Joe Berlinger, whose only other narrative feature is “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” which was famously meddled with by the studio and bombed terribly with audiences and critics alike.

Starring alongside Efron and Collins is John Malkovich as Edward Cowart, the judge who presided over Bundy’s case, as well as Jim Parsons, Angela Sarafyan, Jeffrey Donovan, Kaya Scodelario, and Haley Joel Osment.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” premieres at Sundance on January 26 and awaits release later in the year. The trailer can be seen below: