- Since premiering May 3, Netflix’s new biopic about Ted Bundy has caught the attention of audiences everywhere.
- It doesn’t hurt that the film stars Zac Efron as the serial murderer—and many people think the two look very similar.
- This casting choice isn’t the only one that’s spot-on. Many of the other cast members look just like their real-life counterparts.
ICYMI, Netflix’s new Ted Bundy biopic, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, premiered this weekend and the Internet is still buzzing with details of the serial murderer: his daughter, his education, even down to his teeth.
Let’s be real for a sec, though: While Bundy’s life was clearly intriguing, having Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron portray him definitely didn’t hurt the movie’s success (though it definitely made Zac’s fans feel…uneasy, to say the least), as he’s definitely a dead-ringer for Bundy.
But it turns out, the rest of the characters from Extremely Wicked are pretty good matches for their counterparts as well. Don’t believe me? Take a look to see the side-by-side comparisons of what the characters in Netflix’s new biopic look like versus the real-life people they play—but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Zac Efron as Ted Bundy
Netflix, Getty Images
The same man who’s played Troy Bolton in High School Musical, Teddy Sanders in Neighbors, and Phillip Carlyle in The Greatest Showman—amongst plenty of other roles—now stars as the notorious serial killer and rapist, Ted Bundy, who confessed to murdering 30 women.
While Zac seems to be a dead ringer for Bundy, Zac made a point not to go “too method” while portraying the serial killer, so he didn’t become too attached to the role. “I was able to compartmentalize myself and leave him on set, in the jail cell—most days,” he said according to MovieWeb.
Lily Collins as Elizabeth Kloepfer
The actress and daughter of Phil Collins, who’s known for roles in To the Bone and Mirror Mirror stars as the movie’s protagonist: Elizabeth Kloepfer, Ted Bundy’s girlfriend. Kloepfer, who goes by pseudonym Liz Kendall, met Bundy at a bar in September 1969, at which point she was a divorced single mother looking for someone to take care of her, as she explains in her memoir, The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy.
Not much is known today about Kloepfer, besides that she’s battled alcoholism, struggled with relationships (I mean…), and turned a lot to faith. According to Lily, who was able to meet Kloepfer for the film, Bundy’s ex-girlfriend was “gracious,” “lovely,” and “a positive light on set,” per an interview with UK Talk Show, This Morning.
Kaya Scodelario as Carole Ann Boone
After starring in Skins and The Maze Runner Series, Kaya Scodelario transforms into Bundy’s wife (yup, you read that right), Carole Ann Boone, in Extremely Wicked. Boone and Bundy met while working at the Washington State Department Emergency Services in 1974, but the two reconnected while Bundy was on trial in Florida (Boone even moved to Florida to support him).
Even crazier: While testifying as a character witness for Bundy in 1979, the duo got hitched, likely in an attempt to win sympathy from the jurors, and soon after, Boone became pregnant with daughter, Rose, who was born while Bundy was still on Death row. By 1986, Boone divorced Bundy and returned to Washington with his daughter, Rose, and her son, James, and very little else is known about their whereabouts today.
Jim Parsons as Larry Simpson
Netflix, AP Images
Is that…? Yup, the guy who plays Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory was also in Extremely Wicked. While Jim Parsons is best known for playing BBT’s genius physicist protagonist, Jim also channeled some scientific knowledge in his role as Florida prosecutor Larry Simpson, who was the lead prosecutor on Ted Bundy’s case—and in 1979, only four years out of law school.
IRL, and as demonstrated by Jim in the film, Simpson called on forensic science to prove that Bundy’s teeth matched the bite marks on victim Lisa Levy’s butt, as Simpson told Daily Business Review in January. Today, Simpson is “semi-retired,” occasionally working on cases from home if not traveling to visit grandkids or sightsee across the U.S. with his wife.
John Malkovich as Judge Edward D. Cowart
John Malkovich, the star of Being John Malkovich, as well as other big-name titles like In the Line of Fire, Dangerous Liaisons, and most recently, TV show Billions, plays Judge Edward D. Cowart, the Florida judge who sentenced Ted Bundy to death in 1979 and died just two years before Bundy faced his sentence (execution) after suffering a heart attack at 62-years-old, per the New York Times.
Fun fact: The real Judge Cowart is responsible for the film’s name. In his closing statement, he said, “The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel in that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life.” Damn.
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