Victims of sociopaths often describe them as charming and appealing – and no one fits this bill better than one of America's most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy. Keeping that in mind, filmmaker Joe Berlinger has decided to cast Zac Efron for the part in an upcoming thriller project.

Efron will star as Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a film about the rapist, killer and necrophile who was responsible for the gruesome murders of at least 30 young women in the 1970s. The story will be told from the perspective of the murderer's long-time girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, who for a large part of their relationship refused to believe he was capable of the heinous acts he committed.

The project will be helmed by Berlinger, whose documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory earned him an Oscar nomination in 2012. Michael Werwie, who wrote the script for the film, won the Nicholl Fellowship first prize for this work which was then added to the Black List from which it got selected by Voltage Pictures.

Nicolas Chartier and Ara Keshishian are producing the film with Michael Costigan alongside Efron's Ninjas Runnin' Wild banner, Michael Simkin and Jason Barrett.

With the Baywatch actor in the lead, many have questioned the casting choice but Costigan expressed strong believe in Efron's capabilities as an actor describing it as "perfect casting, as he can play both the depth and the charm that this guy had in equal measures, and which allowed him to manipulate these women in such a terrifying way".

"We think in the vein of Nightcrawler or even The Jinx, we are making a psychological thriller that will resonate deeply with audiences," he said according to AV Club.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, principal photography for the film is expected to begin on 9 October.