Why Zac Efron Should Play a Charismatic Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is one of the most well-known American serial killers in history. He is the epitome of a serial killer and an everlasting reminder that people like him exist in the world. So, as the "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" trailer released on YouTube this month, audiences were ready to catch a glimpse of the latest telling of Bundy's twisted story. Many were upset to find out that this adaptation, shown from the perspective of Bundy's real-life ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, focuses on Bundy's public life before he was convicted. Bundy, portrayed by Zac Efron, is depicted as the suave and charismatic man that hid the evil killer. Many have voiced their displeasure on Twitter that the trailer is somewhat "romanticizing" his swindling ability and is disrespectful to the victims' families, of which there are upwards of thirty.

Overall, the trailer received mix reactions with many feeling that the tone missed the mark:


Others felt the trailer was outright disrespectful to the victim's families:

The backlash on the movie's trailer was enough to elicit a response from the movie's director, Joe Berlinger:

"I think the idea of this particular story, making a movie about Bundy, equals glorification of him is a very naive and knee-jerk reaction. Because if you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him. He gets his due at the end, but we’re portraying the experience of how one becomes a victim to that kind of psychopathic seduction."

Berlinger's response has some truth to it, as the movie does depict Bundy's true, secret self onscreen which is shown in startling cuts to him dragging a body into the woods after assuring his girlfriend of his innocence. "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" shows a lot of Bundy's charismatic persona because it is from his ex-girlfriend's perspective. Elizabeth Kloepfer saw the charismatic front that Bundy presented, and the movie depicts her struggle to believe that her charming boyfriend was the man he actually was.

I believe that showing the attractive, appealing demeanor that Bundy had is important because it is what made him so dangerous. He lured many victims out of safety but being so persuasive, faking injuries for sympathy, and asking for their help. It is important to show that not all dangerous people are erratic, hateful loners, but can be likable and prey on those who trust that likability.

Even if you feel that his crimes should be taking the front seat of this movie, Berlinger has directed an authentic account on what Kloepfer lived through during the 1970s as she dated the false persona of Ted Bundy. When the movie releases, it will be up to you to decide if "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" truly portrays Ted Bundy as the heinous killer he truly was. 

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