Zac Efron has shared the first image of himself as serial killer Ted Bundy for director Joe Berlinger’s upcoming movie, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The story will chronicle the horrendous crimes of Bundy, from the perspective of his long-term girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, who at one time refused to believe that her partner was a cold-blooded murderer.
Bundy was executed via electric chair in 1989 after admitting to assaulting and murdering more than 30 women across seven states between 1974 and 1978, though it is believed that the true victim count may actually be much higher.
With shooting on the biopic officially underway, Efron, who rose to prominence for his role as teen heartthrob Troy Bolton in the High School Musical franchise, took to Instagram on Wednesday to share the first look at his sinister character. In the black-and-white photo, Efron is seen posing for Bundy’s infamous mugshot, wearing a plain white T-shirt tucked into high-waisted bootleg pants.
“Meet Ted,” he wrote to his 32.8 million followers on the platform, adding the hashtag #behindthescenes alongside a clapperboard emoji.
It’s safe to say that the role will be a significant change of pace for the actor, who is known for starring in big-screen comedies like Neighbors and Dirty Grandpa. However, Extremely Wicked producer Nicolas Chartier assured fans that the 30-year-old is the perfect candidate for the prolific part in an interview with Variety last year.
“I have been trying to work with Zac Efron for a long time. From his dramatic turn in Paperboy to his hilarious performance in Neighbors, he continues to impress audiences and critics alike with his extraordinary versatility and range.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to see him in this amazing role,” he concluded.
Speaking to BuzzFeed about his various acting roles, Efron previously admitted that he was looking forward to taking on a new challenge and tapping into his darker side to play one of the most notorious serial killers in American history.
“Ted Bundy is going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be different and it’s going to be fun. I’m super stoked.”
It seems that he isn’t the only person who is stoked over the thought of his terrorizing transition either, as many of the star’s fans recently praised him for continuing to diversify his roles by taking on the gritty character-driven flick.
“Great to see Zac’s range in more serious roles,” one person wrote in the comments section of Efron’s latest Instagram post.
Another added on Twitter, “I never thought of Zac Efron as Ted Bundy but now he’s the only actor who fits.”
One person gushed, “True crime and Zac Efron, my two favorite things.”
Others posted side-by-side photos of Efron and his alter ego, Bundy, to highlight the physical similarities between the pair.
Elsewhere, Lily Collins, who will star opposite Efron in the biographical thriller, shared a photo of herself on the set of the upcoming movie, which is written by Michael Werwie.
“Meet Liz,” the 28-year-old actress wrote in the caption, inviting fans to take an exclusive look at herself in character as Bundy’s girlfriend, Elizabeth, who stood by her murderous mate for years before ultimately turning him in to the police.
Alongside Efron and Collins, John Malkovich will play Judge Edward Cowart, who presided over the Bundy trial, later sentencing the necrophiliac serial killer to death.
A release date for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is yet to be confirmed.