Actors get pigeonholed.
It’s not made up or an exaggeration. When an actor thrives in a certain role or series of roles, audiences prefer him or her to stay in that lane of entertainment.
For instance. When Michael Keaton was cast as Batman back in 1988, comic book fans hated it for two reasons. They thought the actor was too short and all he had done up until then commercially was mostly comedy. These days, he’s known to many as the best Batman.
Heath Ledger caught the same flack before he won an Oscar and reinvented the perception of comic book films as The Joker.
Zac Efron is playing Ted Bundy in Jon Berlinger’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, which was just bought at Sundance for $9 million and will be released via Netflix later this year.
Since the trailer debuted last month, people have turned the Efron role into a polarizing discussion. Is he too good looking? Why him? Will it hamper the film?
Here’s my take. I like the casting. After watching the trailer, I can see what Berlinger and the producers saw in Efron, who is known mostly as the teen idol from High School Musical, Neighbors, and the Baywatch remake.
If you look at Bundy and Efron, you can see a resemblance. Is it uncanny? No, but there’s a similar charm in their faces that is enough to register the actor into the role via the 93 second trailer which can be viewed just about anywhere.
After all, Berlinger’s Ted Bundy Tapes is currently circulating Netflix and if you check his directing history on I.M.D.B. you’ll see a load of true crime documentaries. Do you really think he’d let the producers and co-workers tell him who to cast for arguably the biggest project of his career? The answer is no. Berlinger handpicked Efron, and I can see the reason.
First, Efron isn’t a spring chicken on the big screen. He recently turned 30, and has aged a little in the past few years. He has the voice, look, and overall physical demeanor to fill out the role.
Second, I like the bold choice to go with a well-known star. Any director could have selected an unknown from the huge crowd of wannabe actors, and made a good flick. Berlinger is going for broke here in tagging a face many know and love, so props to him.
Third, we are talking about Ted Bundy here. This isn’t Batman or Wolverine. Since a young Alan Alda isn’t available, Efron will do just fine. Once again, stare at those two pictures.
Fourth, this is a big gamble for Efron to take. If he bombs, it’ll follow him around for a long time. He could make Neighbors 3 and 4 or other heartthrob tales, and keep on cashing paychecks. There’s a gamble on his part here as well, and that’s refreshing to see. He’s ready for the big moment.
I’m going to avoid the Bundy tapes on Netflix and just wait for the movie. I want to go in with a fresh face, and see what the young man has to offer.
Personally, I think Efron is going to be great. If you watch the trailer, one can notice the lighthearted, bewildering touch that Berlinger applied to the story and how it’s told from Bundy’s girlfriend’s point of view. That’s another reason why he fits. This isn’t a completely serious retelling.
Remember, it’s a movie and chances should be taken. Crispin Glover could do it, but he’s too old.
Let’s give Zac Efron a shot. It’ll either be extremely great or shockingly awful.