Joe Berlinger’s Ted Bundy thriller Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile has accumulated quite an ensemble cast, led by Zac Efron as the notorious serial killer himself. As of today, the film has landed a new and noteworthy name: James Hetfield, making his film debut. The Grammy-winning Metallica frontman has played himself in movies and on television before, but this will be his first time tackling a dramatic role.
Hetfield will play Officer Bob Hayward, whom a press release describes as “a no-nonsense Utah highway patrol veteran who was the first law enforcement officer to arrest Bundy in 1975 after pulling the killer over and discovering burglary tools in his car but wisely suspecting much worse.” Bundy was known in part for his good looks and charisma—hence Efron—so thankfully, Hayward was able to look past his surface and see the monster underneath.
“Having spent hundreds of hours behind the scenes with James and the rest of Metallica, I have experienced his charisma and powerful presence close up,” says Berlinger in a statement. “It seemed only natural that he would bring that same power and magnetism to a dramatic role, so when he agreed to my pitch that he be in the movie, I was thrilled.”
Berlinger and Hetfield worked together in 2004, when Berlinger directed and produced acclaimed Metallica rock documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster—he later wrote a book about his experiences with the band, Metallica: This Monster Lives. Berlinger, Oscar-nominated for his work on 2011 doc Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, directed Extremely Wicked from a screenplay by Michael Werwie that won the Nicholl Fellowship first prize and was featured on the 2012 Black List, a ranking of Hollywood’s “most liked” unproduced screenplays.
Extremely Wicked’s ensemble cast also includes Lily Collins (Okja) as Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (who had no knowledge of his crimes at the time), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) as lead Bundy prosecutor Larry Simpson, Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) as an unidentified character named Jerry and John Malkovich (Burn After Reading ) as the judge who delivered Bundy’s death sentence(s), as well as Kaya Scodelario, Angela Sarafyan, Jeffrey Donovan, Terry Kinney and Dylan Baker.