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Netflix To Buy Rights To Ted Bundy Biopic Starring Zac Efron For Whopping $9 Million
The film, starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins, deals with Ted Bundy’s dozens of kidnappings, rapes, and murders from the point of view of his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer.
In the wake of the runaway success of Netflix’s Ted Bundy docu-series, it’s been revealed that the streaming behemoth is set to buy the rights to the Zac Efron-starring drama “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.”
Netflix is gearing up to buy the Joe Berlinger-directed film’s U.S. rights, as well as some international territories, for $9 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Berlinger also directed Netflix’s “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”
The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, deals with Bundy’s dozens of kidnappings, rapes, and murders from the point of view of his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who is portrayed by “To The Bone” star Lily Collins. Kloepfer was instrumental in Bundy’s many crimes coming to light after she turned him into police, but in the trailer for the film, she seems more ambiguous about her belief in his guilt.
The cast also features Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, and Jim Parsons.
Efron shared the first look behind the scenes of the film on his social media accounts earlier this year. One Instagram shot shows Efron’s Bundy standing for a mug shot; another, captioned, “when Ted met Liz,” provides a look at the couple meeting for the first time.
Despite the seemingly large price tag, Netflix's reported deal isn't even the biggest for a streaming service at Sundance: Amazon bought "Brittany Runs a Marathon" and "The Report" for $14 million a pop, as well as "Late Night" for $13 million, according to Business Insider.
“Extremely Wicked” has received mixed-to-good reviews from critics, with a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix will reportedly give the film a theatrical run in the fall as well, to drum up award season attention for Efron.
“If the narrative film only exists to give us the unsettling sliminess of Efron as Bundy, it won’t be a total waste. But it’s not much of a movie, either,” Emily Yoshida wrote in her review for Vulture.
Meanwhile, THR’s Todd McCarthy wrote, "Efron flies higher than ever here, investing his character with an illusory confidence that’s entertaining even when the character and legal charges fully live up to the film’s title."
Last week, Netflix condemned fans of the docu-series for commenting on Bundy's supposed attractiveness.
[Photo: Sundance Institute/Brian Douglas]