Zac Efron's new film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has been accused of 'romanticising' serial killer Ted Bundy, however the actor has insisted he wanted to play the role for the sake of Bundy's victims.
When Efron was first presented with a script for the movie, which hits screens this week, he admitted he was wary about stepping into the role of the man who is believed to have killed around 30 women across seven US states in the 1970s.
"I didn't want to jump in too early to what could have potentially been the wrong version of this movie," he told the Guardian this week. "I was very hesitant to go into a darker genre in what could be perceived as an effort to change my perceived image."
However, when the script was rewritten, Efron said the film felt like the right way to tell the story. "A movie that could have been procedural and boring now explores a brand-new perspective, and is told through the eyes of Liz, the girl closest to Ted."
It comes just days after Efron admitted it was 'almost impossible' to separate himself from Bundy during filming.
Zac's model looks led to fears that casting Efron as Bundy would "romanticise" the serial killer, but as people who are familiar with Bundy's crimes will know, the killer was able to lure his victims because of his charm and charisma - something Efron was keen to bring to the role.
Director Joe Berlinger, who also produced Netflix's four-part docuseries, The Ted Bundy Tapes, has often stressed that the purpose of the film was to show how the world found it difficult to believe that a handsome, educated, middle class man could be guilty of such heinous crimes.
Both Berlinger and Efron told the Guardian they're not glamorising Bundy's crimes, because the film shows how at the end of his life, he was forced to admit his crimes to the one person he cares most about.
"By the end of the movie Bundy is alone," Berlinger said, "he's had to admit to the one person he cares about the truth. We see him as needy and pathetic, about to be executed."
"Not glamorous or standing for a cause," Efron added. "He's dead."
"And really the point of the movie is to portray deception and betrayal," said Berlinger.
"And karma," said Efron. "I wanted to make this film for the victims."
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile will available on Sky Cinema in the UK on 3rd May.