Zac Efron stars as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Netflix film.
Extremely Wicked has courted a string of controversies in recent weeks following its Sundance premiere and a trailer which many felt glorified the murderer. Bundy was sentenced to death 30 years ago for the abduction, rape and murder of 30 women, though the actual number of victims is still unknown and thought to be higher. Directed by Joe Berlinger, the movie is being touted as a biographical thriller; though it is a work of fiction, it is, of course, based in fact and that is where the controversies lie.
With Bundy having murdered most of his victims between 1974-1978, many of their relatives are still living, and critics of Extremely Wicked have said the movie is insensitive to their feelings. Whether that is or isn't the case, Zac Efron's Ted Bundy film is sure to be talked about for a long time to come, and it hasn't even released yet!
Zac Efron's Ted Bundy Film Will Release On Netflix Later This Year
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and was later bought by Netflix for a reported $9 million (the streaming platform will own the U.S. and some international rights). At present, there is no firm release date set for Extremely Wicked. However, reports suggest that Netflix plan a limited theatrical run this fall, and after that the movie will make its way onto the streaming platform for subscribers. This acquisition makes sense for Netflix; they're also home to The Ted Bundy Tapes, a documentary using archive footage and audio recordings of Bundy while on death row. The documentary is also helmed by Berlinger, meaning he and Netflix will have two different perspectives of the same story.
Zac Efron Leads Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile's Cast
For someone who started out on the Disney Channel, Zac Efron is certainly enjoying a varied career. After High School Musical, he initially carved out a niche for himself as the star of R-rated comedies, before heading back to musicals for The Greatest Showman. In perhaps his most challenging role to date, Efron now plays Ted Bundy. Reviews have praised his depiction of a man who charmed and deceived many.
Starring opposite Efron is Lily Collins as Bundy's girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, a woman who was completely taken in by Bundy's charisma. John Malkovich plays Judge Edward Cowart, the man who, on sentencing Bundy to death, called his crimes extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile, but added that he bore no animosity toward him, and told Bundy to take care of himself. Jim Parsons plays Florida prosecutor Larry Simpson. Kaya Scodelario plays Carole Ann Boone, Bundy's wife; the pair married while he was awaiting trial for the murder of a 12-year-old girl, with their daughter conceived while he was on death row. Other cast members include Haley Joel Osment as Jerry, a co-worker of Liz, Angela Sarafyan, Jeffrey Donovan, and Grace Victoria Cox. Berlinger also appears as a Colorado Jailhouse reporter.
Extremely Wicked's Story Is About Ted Bundy, But Isn't Totally Real
Ted Bundy committed truly heinous crimes, yet many refused to be convinced of his evil - including the Judge at his trial. Extremely Wicked tells the story from the perspective of Bundy's girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. The pair were very close, and Bundy became a father figure to her young daughter from a previous relationship. Under the pseudonym Liz Kendall, Kloepfer released a book about her relationship with Bundy, stating that although she was sickened by him, she really loved the "warm and loving Ted." Despite calling the police on Bundy and giving them extensive interviews, she admitted she found it hard to accept that he could be capable of his crimes. Extremely Wicked is based upon her version of events, but it is not a docu-drama, so while based in fact, Berlinger has take artistic license in order to make an entertaining movie.