Zac Efron has revealed the first photo of him as serial killer Ted Bundy in the true-life crime thriller Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. At 30 years old, Efron is already a seasoned veteran in the film and television business, having taken part in 50 projects since his debut as the younger version of Simon (Seah Maher) in an episode of Joss Whedon's acclaimed sci-fi series Firefly in 2002.
And while Efron sandwiched 10 projects in between, the actor finally hit his stride in 2006 as prep basketball star-turned-actor Troy Bolton in Disney's TV movie phenomenon High School Musical, which spawned two big sequels and a bevy of film roles. Playing to his musical strengths in the film adaptation of the Broadway smash Hairspray and venturing into comedy with the blockbuster Neighbors, Efron seemed destined to play in lighter fare for the duration of his career, until a surprise announcement last May that he was going to play Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history.
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Now, just over eight months after the casting announcement, Efron tweeted Wednesday the first photo of himself in the role. Accompanied by the caption "Meet Ted. #BehindTheScenes," the image appears a recreation of a booking photo of Bundy, a criminal whose crimes included murder, rape and necrophilia involving several women in the 1970s. See Efron's tweet below:
Little has been made available up to this point about Extremely Wicked, apart from the fact that it is being directed by acclaimed Paradise Lost filmmaker Joe Berlinger and Lily Collins and John Malkovich are attached. So, the fact that Efron tweeted out a photo taken during filmmaking is a sure sign that the movie is moving forward. Given the fact that Extremely Wicked is an independent film with no distributor locked in yet, it should come as a relief to Efron fans that the film isn't lost in development.
Or will it be a relief to fans? In a business where image is everything, Efron is no doubt taking a huge career risk in a role about as polar opposite as you can get in the film business. Playing a vile serial killer who confessed to killing at least 30 women between 1974-78 in a crime spree that spanned seven states, moviegoers are going to follow Efron to dark places he's never gone before. Ultimately, depending on how convincing he is playing Bundy, they may not like what they see.
Obviously Efron isn't worried about any career backlash, otherwise he would have never taken on the role of Bundy in the first place. Playing a role you never would have expected him to play will give him a chance to show his acting range, and if it works, it will no doubt open several new doors for him in the business. Sure, he will never abandon his work in musicals (The Greatest Showman shows that his High School Musical films weren't a fluke), but following such films as the beached whale Baywatch, he's making the right choice by going out on a cinematic limb, no matter how ghastly the role ends up being.
Source: Zac Efron