When Zac Efron signed on to play serial killer Ted Bundy in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, he may not have realized what he was signing up for. According to the actor, he didn’t just play the convicted murderer on set, he also took all that darkness home with him at night. Though he did his best to “separate” himself from the role — and, of course, he didn’t end up becoming a convicted killer in his own right — he did find it “almost impossible” to just relax and be the friendly, funny Zac we know and love.

“I’ve never played a role in which I really have to separate myself from when I go home at night,” the star, 31, said at the London premiere of the movie. According to the Daily Mail, he admitted it was an “almost impossible” task. “I’d like to say that I did it successfully but I couldn’t,” he continued. Talk about a real-life horror story.

Zac’s admission mirrors reports from January 2019 when an inside source told In Touch that the actor got “really lost” in the role. “He acted like a real jerk and a creep to the cast and crew, and even to some fans in town,” the source exclusively shared. “Many people on set didn’t think it was an act, and he had to apologize. And now there are some fans out there who think Zac’s really rude!”

Though some people can’t get enough of true crime content, Zac said that’s never what drew him to the role. “I really wasn’t interested in playing a serial killer,” he said. “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. … It’s a different perspective and not your run-of-the-mill serial killer cliché.”

According to the director, Joe Berlinger, it’s not just the actor who isn’t interested in glamorizing the role. The movie isn’t either. “We see him as needy, and the terrible human being that he was. … We’re arming a new generation with new information that just because a person looks and acts a certain way, doesn’t mean they’re good.”

Zac’s looks combined with his private life made him the perfect person for the part. “He’s a wonderful guy, but nobody really knows who he is in real life, and that’s the hold Bundy had over people, 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.”

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