Zac Efron recently signed on for a role unlike his previous ones: he’ll be playing serial killer Ted Bundy in a biopic called Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
The movie tells the disturbing story of Bundy, who admitted to assaulting, raping, and murdering at least 30 women, and is the latest in a line of Hollywood films that focus on white, male serial killers.
Zac and his The Greatest Showman co-star Zendaya recently interviewed each other for Buzzfeed, where he talked about the role.
“What’s the most challenging role you’ve ever played?” she asked him.
“Hopefully the next one,” he said. “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.”
While his past projects like High School Musical and Hairspray may not bear much resemblance to Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, COTA Films producer Michael Costigan told The AV Club that Zac is “perfect casting, as he can play both the depth and the charm that this guy had in equal measures, and which allowed him to manipulate these women in such a terrifying way.”
But manipulation isn’t the end of the story, as Bundy was one of the country’s most notorious murderers. Focusing on his charm runs the risk of fetishizing Bundy’s story, or desensitizing the audience to the heinous truth behind his crimes.