You might’ve heard Joe Berlinger’s name in regard to not one, but two, Ted Bundy projects in recent months — and he says putting together both the Netflix docuseries “The Ted Bundy Tapes” and directing “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” was purely coincidental.
“It is kind of surreal that the same person did a doc series and a feature film, all coming out at the same time,” Berlinger told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Sundance Film Festival. “I wish I could say I had this grand master plan to be ‘the Bundy guy’ in 2019, but it all was kind of coincidental, honestly. For the doc series, the tapes fell in my lap: they were sent to me by the author in 2017, I [thought] there was something to make, I listened to the tapes, I thought they were chilling, and I thought there was a new way to get into the mind of the killer, which is what the doc was about — it spared no detail.”
Haley Joel Osment, Angela Sarafyan and cinematographer Brandon Trost also stopped by TheWrap’s interview studio at the film festival. In the movie, Osment and Sarafyan play friends of Lily Collins’ character, Liz Kendall, Bundy’s former girlfriend. The movie is told from Liz’s perspective as Bundy’s crimes come to light, and Osment and Sarafyan’s characters are somewhat Liz’s voice of reason.
“Joe told me that my character is an accumulation of a number of different women that were her friends so she becomes this composite character,” Sarafyan explained. “It was fun to play this particular role because it’s very empowering to be able to see clearly. I think she is someone that does. She is not hidden by the manipulation, she is not affected by the charm. She is someone that follows her instinct and I like being that for Lily — for Liz — in the film.”
Osment added, “It was nice being the positive energy team. Our characters are a little bit of sunlight for Liz because she is descending into this terrible world with Ted and we’re the people who are helping her see a life beyond that, which ultimately the real Liz was able to do.”
Trost also explained how he was able to re-create scenes to make it “as 1970s as we could,” and emphasized that the team looked at a lot of archival footage and photos, especially in terms of the set pieces.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy. The film premiered on January 26 at Sundance, but doesn’t have a U.S. release date yet.
Watch the video above.