zac efron lily collins
photo: Getty Images

The wait for the highly anticipated biopic about the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy is almost over. On May 3, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile will begin streaming on Netflix, and considering how much hype and controversy has surrounded the film, it's safe to say that people are ready

One thing is for sure: It seems like the stars of the film, Zac Efron and Lily Collins, definitely did their homework. After he took on the role of Bundy, Efron admitted that he struggled to separate himself from the evil character he was tasked with bringing to life on-screen.

As for Collins, who plays Bundy's girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer in the film, she recently said that meeting Kloepfer in real life helped her tap into and understand the character a bit better.

The countdown to the release of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is officially in the single digits.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few months, here's a quick refresher: 

The film is about Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who murdered 30 young women during the 1970s, all while he was attempting to build a "normal" life with his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins). EWSEAV will reportedly be told from Kloepfer's perspective, who refused to believe the truth about Bundy for years, but who ultimately helped turn him in.

When the first teaser trailer for the film dropped in January, it stirred up quite a bit of controversy.

Some people felt that the teaser needlessly glamorized Bundy by giving him typical hot-guy treatment when someone who committed such horrible crimes is clearly not worthy or deserving of celebration. "That's exactly what Ted Bundy wanted, posthumous fame for his cruelties," wrote Twitter user @iamshiroshika. "You can count on Hollywood to make the worst human beings immortal." 

Others pointed out that Efron's conventional good looks and charm made him the perfect fit for the role.

The fact of the matter is Bundy got away with his crimes for so long because of his attractiveness, charm, intelligence, and white privilege. He knew exactly how to use all of those qualities to his advantage and how to manipulate those around him, which pretty much says all you need to know about his evil and sadistic nature. 

The film's director, Joe Berlinger, has had a lot to say about this subject.

"That’s the hold Bundy had over people," Berlinger explained. "Because he was charming, because he was good-looking, he was able to manipulate his victims, he was able to lead them to their death. He was able to manipulate the American media that made him into a hero and a perverse kind of folk hero."

Efron has previously talked about getting inside the mind of a serial killer.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he explained that those in Bundy's orbit saw him as a relatively normal guy. 

"One of the most fascinating things about Ted was his ability to really relate to people to a certain extent," Efron said. "Through all the interviews and stuff that I watched on Ted, I've never seen anybody who was like, 'We were best buds.' But a lot of people say, 'Yeah, I knew him very well. He was a pretty upstanding dude. He seemed agreeable.'"

And just last week, Efron revealed that he had a hard time separating himself from the character of Bundy.

According to the Daily Mail, the actor struggled to detach himself from Bundy's horrifyingly evil nature. "I’ve never played a role in which I really have to separate myself from when I go home at night and it was almost impossible," Efron said. "I’d like to say that I did it successfully, but I couldn’t." 

That should give people a sense of just how difficult it would be for a normal non-murderer to get into the mind of one of the most infamous serial killers in history.

But Efron also said that he had no interest in "glamorizing" Bundy.

"I really wasn’t interested in playing a serial killer," he explained. "I’m not in the business of glamorizing a horrendous person or his acts, but there is something unique about the way we went into the psyche of Ted and his longtime girlfriend Liz." 

For the record, the movie is told from Liz's point of view, meaning the audience will get a perspective that's often overlooked in films like this.

As for Collins, she recently revealed that she met with the real Elizabeth Kloepfer.

In a new interview, she opened up about what it was like to connect with Kloepfer and learn about her side of the story for the movie.

"I went and met the woman that I play," Collins said. "It was really helpful. She was so gracious, giving me material to look at and speaking to me."

Collins also avoided researching any evidence that Kloepfer wouldn't have known about herself all those years ago.

"I play the girlfriend, she had a daughter, and they were a family unit before he committed the crimes," Collins said. "In preparation for the film, I wouldn't look at any imagery. I didn't want to look at anything Liz hadn't seen." 

In real life, Kloepfer recounted her experiences in her memoir The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy. It was published in 1981 when Bundy was on death row (he was executed in 1989).

According to Collins, Kloepfer even visited the set while the film was in production.

It's not clear, however, whether she will actually watch the movie once it's released. 

"I don't know if she's going to see the movie, because it's difficult," Collins explained in the interview. "But within the filming process, she came on set, and she was a positive light on set. You wouldn't expect that with what happened. She gave us her support. She's really lovely."