LOS ANGELES — Zac Efron has come on board to star as serial killer Ted Bundy in the independent drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Voltage Pictures and Michael Costigan’s Cota Films are producing with Joe Berlinger directing. Michael Werwie wrote the original screenplay, which won the Nicholl Fellowship first prize and was on the Black List.
The film is set to commence principal photography on Oct 9. Voltage will fully finance and is handling international sales at the Cannes Film Festival. CAA and UTA Independent Film Group represent the domestic rights.
Efron will be seen next in Paramount’s Baywatch opposite Dwayne Johnson. He’s also starring in Fox’s The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams, directed by Michael Gracey.
Extremely Wicked producers are Nicolas Chartier and Ara Keshishian for Voltage alongside Costigan for Cota Films. Efron’s Ninjas Runnin’ Wild banner will produce alongside Michael Simkin and Jason Barrett. Michael Werwie and Jonathan Deckter will be executive producing along with Stephen Gates of Ellipsis Entertainment Group and Brad Kaplan of Primary Wave Entertainment.
“I have been trying to work with Zac Efron for a long time,” Chartier said. “From his dramatic turn in Paperboy to his hilarious performance in Neighbours, he continues to impress audiences and critics alike with his extraordinary versatility and range. We couldn’t be more excited to see him in this amazing role.”
The project was unveiled in 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival with Ziad Doueiri (The Attack) set to make his English-language feature debut.
The project follows the dysfunctional relationship between Bundy and his long-time girlfriend Liz Bundy, a killer and rapist of young girls and women who was notoriously charming, was executed in Florida in 1989.
Berlinger was nominated in 2012 for an Academy Award for best documentary for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.
Keshishian negotiated the deal with CAA and Chris Tricarico on behalf of Cota. Efron is repped by CAA, Alchemy Entertainment, and attorneys Patti Felker and Eric Suddleson; Berlinger is repped by CAA and Lighthouse Management. Werwie is repped by UTA, Kaplan and Gates. VARIETY.COM/REUTERS