Zac Efron says 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' doesn't glamorize serial killer Ted Bundy
When the first trailer for 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' was released, it faced a considerate amount of criticism for being a biopic that apparently glorified the serial killer Ted Bundy.
People had some very strong opinions about not just Efron playing the role of a murderer but also accused the makers of romanticizing one of the most monstrous serial killers in American history. Some even criticized the actors for signing up with the film without a conscience.
I feel so bad for the families of the victims that have to sit there and see their terrors revived as a witty romantic thriller https://t.co/uP4y03XSBU— anime yitties (@peachesfrfr) January 26, 2019
'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' tells the story of Bundy through the perspective of his long-time girlfriend, Liz Kendall. While the movie largely avoids showing the violent acts committed by Bundy, it goes into the psychology of how the serial killer was able to manipulate people.
At that time, Efron promised the film does not glorify the serial killer. In an interview, he said: "It simply tells a story and sort of how the world was able to be charmed over by this guy who was notoriously evil and the vexing position that so many people were put in."
This was in January when the film was seeking rights for U.S. distribution. The movie will, however, be available on Netflix from next week. Efron essays the role of Theodore "Ted" Bundy and Lily Collins plays Elizabeth "Liz" Kendall.
When promoting his work on 'The Ellen Show', Efron reiterated his clarification. "The goal was a very challenging one and I'm thrilled that it turned out the way it did. I am not into portraying a serial killer or anybody of this nature or glamorizing them in any way... It does not glamourize the killing. This is an important thing for people to hear."
At the end of the day, 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' is a film about Bundy's white privilege, Efron explained.
"Ted Bundy was a clean-cut, white dude, white person, so talk about white privilege. What he got away with back then, nobody would be able to do today," Efron said. He also added that the movie is an "introspective, intelligent look" into the minds of Bundy and Kendall.
As he opened up about his character in the film, he said, "Another interesting thing is that he did crave certain things. Do sociopaths who, in theory, are only looking out for themselves or are maladjusted to other people's feelings, do they not have personal needs? Do they not have things that they want, that they desire? Is love not one of those things? So, it's another interesting look."
In a recent interview, director Joe Berlinger defended the movie against the glorification backlash. "You can't watch this film and say that we're glamorizing or glorifying Bundy. What we're doing is portraying the psychology of deception and betrayal," he said.
The film first premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. Efron received praise for his role of Bundy; many deemed it "the best performance of his career thus far". The film is set to release in the U.S. May 3.