In film news that the cultural zeitgeist wished into being, Zac Efron is about to wrap up filming on a movie where he stars as Ted Bundy. You know, Ted Bundy, the murderer. These new photos of Zac Efron from the Ted Bundy movie reveal that filming is almost complete, and that the movie looks good. It costars Lily Collins as Bundy's longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, and Skins' Kaya Scodelario as Bundy's wife Carole Ann Boone. (Both real people from real life.) It's a period piece — Bundy was primarily active in the 1970s and 1980s — and could be a breakthrough moment for Efron.
One of the most prolific American serial killers of the 20th century, Bundy's general good looks and reported charisma captured the attention of the public once his crimes became famous. In and out of jail, evading capture, and committing dozens of horrific crimes before being convicted and sentenced to the electric chair in 1989, Bundy is something of a macabre fascination. Now that true crime stories are en vogue once more, serial killer stories are cropping up across all media. There are podcasts, documentaries, docu-series, serialized articles, biopics, and more, most of which are from the last few years. The timing is right for a Ted Bundy film, and the pictures prove that Zac Efron is ready to be a Serious Actor. For real this time.
Efron shot to fame for his role in 2006's High School Musical, where he became an overnight sensation. He's been working consistently since then, but it took time for him to find a niche. For a long time, Efron was too cute to play the sidekick, but his romantic leading-man roles lacked a bite. Writer and comedian Fran Hoepfner once observed that Zac Efron is a skilled character actor cursed with a leading man's looks. "Those under the assumption that Efron can’t handle a dramatic role should look twice at his performance in Neighbors," she wrote for The A.V. Club in 2015, "It's Efron leaning so far into his own persona that the result is nightmarishly effective." It seems as if the Ted Bundy film may change that for good.
Zac Efron? As one of America's most horrifying serial killers? Audiences will be forced to reckon with with him after this. Tackling a dark, disturbing role as part of an equally talented ensemble cast is genius on Efron's part. Collins has received acclaim for her performances in numerous films over the years, and and no one could rock the character of Skins' talented, tormented teen Effy Stonem like Scodelario. Where Collins excels in her Disney princess-like expressions, Scoledario's charms lie in her subtlety, her nuance. Collins has also posted several behind the scenes photos of herself as Elizabeth (or Liz) and she recently posted about her final day on set.
She wrote on Instagram:
And that’s a wrap! Thank you to my incredible team, cast and crew, for helping me bring Liz to life every single day and making this experience so unbelievably memorable. It’s been a crazy, intense, emotional, and beautiful journey to say the least and I can’t imagine it without any of you. I may be leaving, but Liz is forever part of me...
Simply by taking on Ted Bundy, he's subverting viewer expectations. Efron is so handsome and charming and funny; how could he be the bad guy? Not just any bad guy, either; Bundy's crimes are heinous. Watching a corn-fed American hunk like Efron reenact them on-screen will likely prove an unsettling experience for the moviegoer. Right now, though, that's good news for him. If he really wants to make it as an actor to watch — not laugh with, and certainly not laugh at — the role of Ted Bundy is the way to do it. Fans may very well be supporting a Best Actor campaign during the 2019 awards season. And if not, there's always a mostly nude Macarena dance for him to fall back on.