Ted Bundy Survivor OKs Zac Efron As The Serial Killer In New Movie
Kathy Kleiner Rubin, attacked in 1978, says the heartthrob actor fits “what Bundy wanted you to see.”
Zac Efron, Marcie Carmosino, Lily Collins in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile [Brian Douglas/Courtesy of Sundance Institute]
PARK CITY, UT—A new dramatic film about serial killer Ted Bundy has stirred controversy with its recent premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, in large part due to Hollywood hearththrob Zac Efron starring as the notorious murderer.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) drew criticism from some who accused the film of overly humanizing or even glamorizing Bundy by way of Efron’s “charming” portrayal.
One important figure who does not decry the Extremely Wicked casting, though, is Kathy Kleiner Rubin, a survivor of Bundy’s savage attack on her sorority house at Florida State University in 1978.
After seeing the movie, Kleiner Rubin said that Efron very much looks and acts the charismatic, disarming part that Bundy himself was always projecting out onto the world — an image that many analysts believe helped him to commit his atrocities and then get away with them for years.
Speaking to TMZ, Kleiner Rubin said, "I don't have a problem with people looking at it, and as long as they understand that what they're watching wasn't a normal person. I believe that in order to show him exactly the way he was, it's not really glorifying him, but it's showing him, and when they do say positive and wonderful things about him ... that's what they saw, that's what Bundy wanted you to see."
In addition, Kleiner Rubin hopes Extremely Wicked will educate audiences not just about Ted Bundy, but about the potential for inhuman evil to emanate from even the most unexpected sources.
Kleiner Rubin also said, “I think everyone should see it and understand him as what he was, even when he was the perfect son. I think hopefully it will make women — mainly that’s my heart, to care for the women — to be more aware of their surroundings and to be cautious. He had different tactics that he used to help people — to help people get in cars or do things. In your gut, if you feel that something doesn’t feel right, just say no.”
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is told from the point of view of Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), Bundy’s girlfriend who believed he was innocent for far too long. The film was directed by Joe Berlinger, who also helmed the recent popular Netflix documentary series, Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019) and whose previous work includes the Paradise Lost documentary trilogy that helped to free the West Memphis Three and the Investigation Discovery documentary Killing Richard Glossip.