Zac Efron has defended himself against accusations that his new film glamorises serial killer Ted Bundy.
The film, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, sparked outrage in January, when its first trailer appeared to show Bundy as a Wolf of Wall Street-style antihero.
Now, he’s responded to those criticisms in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
Efron talks about the film from 2:36 in this video:
Obviously, Ellen is not a tough interviewer and she lets Efron give his take without much questioning.
When asked about the film, he said:
The goal was a very challenging one and I’m thrilled that it turned out the way that it did.
I am not into portraying a serial killer or anybody of this nature or glamorising them in any way… What he got away with back then, no-one would be able to do today. It's a moment in time that came and passed and is truly scary… but it does not glamorise the killing.
Efron insisted that the film tells the story of Bundy – who confessed to murdering 30 women and is thought to have killed more – from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer.
That, Efron claimed, explains why the film looks like it takes a favourable view of Bundy.
The controversy around the film was mainly caused by its first trailer, which with its blues-rock soundtrack and edgy tone definitely looked like it was glamorising him.
Many people argued that the tone was insensitive to the women who were killed by Bundy and completely inappropriate for a film about a serial killer.
I feel so bad for the families of the victims that have to sit there and see their terrors revived as a witty roman… https://t.co/78ECkuC3Tk
And the filmmakers seemed to notice the backlash, as they went for a more sombre, and much more appropriate, tone for the second trailer.
Extremely Wicked… is set to be released on Netflix this Friday (3 May). So far reviews have been mixed, with critics failing to agree on whether the film hits the right tone or glorifies Bundy's crimes.