Zac Efron has said he worried that taking on the role of Ted Bundy would look like a “desperate shot” at reinvention.
The 31-year-old plays the serial killer in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile, a film based on the memories of Bundy’s former girlfriend.
The High School Musical star admitted to being hesitant because he feared it would look like he was trying to escape his image as a teenage heart-throb.
However, he accepted the role after realising it offered a unique chance to explore the psychology of the mass murderer.
Bundy confessed to 30 killings and was executed by electric chair in Florida in 1989.
Speaking on the Graham Norton Show, Efron said: “I was very hesitant to do it, but I knew I could. I just didn’t want to jump at something that could be seen as a desperate shot at trying to change my image.
“It was a unique experience and not what anyone expects. It makes me proud.
“I had a lot of reservations about playing a killer and in this genre of film.
“I wasn’t interested in glorifying anything, but I was interested in the psychological aspect of whether he was capable of real love.”
Efron, who starred in The Greatest Showman alongside Hugh Jackman, said he hoped there would be a sequel to the hit musical film.
He said: “Hugh is working on all sorts of things including a one-man show. What’s next? I don’t know but I hope there is a sequel.”