Zac Efron tried transcendental meditation to shake off Ted Bundy role


Actor Zac Efron turned to transcendental meditation (TM) to help decompress after struggling to separate himself from his role as serial killer Ted Bundy in his new movie.
The Greatest Showman star takes on the controversial role in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which chronicles Bundy’s crimes from the viewpoint of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins.
Zac was intrigued to explore Bundy’s violent history after being approached by director Joe Berlinger, but he didn’t realize how tough it would be to shake his onscreen alter ego at the end of each day’s shoot.
He tried to relax with TM, a form of silent mantra meditation, and although it definitely helped, he wasn’t able to completely switch off as Bundy while he remained on location.
“I did breathing and meditation. I think that’s the only way,” he told Entertainment Weekly of how he would wind down after work.
“I really love TM, transcendental meditation. I did TM on the way home. Not while driving, but when you’re shooting a movie, one thing we can afford is a ride home, so on the way home I just do some TM and try to phase out of it.”
“Really, you can’t ever really let go of all of it,” he confessed. “There’s always a little bit of you that knows tomorrow you’re Ted.”
Zac admits his own mother was unsure about the actor taking on the gruesome gig when he first told her about the opportunity.
“It was not a good look, it was a very scared look,” he recalled.
However, Zac assured her the film wouldn’t be “a depiction of evil and atrocities,” and eventually put her “more at ease” when she learned the story would instead be told by Bundy’s live-in lover.
“I find true crime to be extremely interesting…,” he shared. “This is a look into who Ted Bundy was, but not the way that I think would have been the easy way, which was to talk about the murders. It’s really from Liz’s perspective and gets deep into (Bundy’s) psyche and what it was like to lead (two) completely different lives.”
Bundy ultimately confessed to 30 killings in seven states, and he was executed at Florida State Prison in 1989.
Despite the mental toll the role took on Zac, he is proud to have challenged himself with the part, because it’s like nothing he has done before.
“I continue to push myself to try new things and push the envelope with an acting career that I kind of stumbled onto,” he said. “It’s kind of a rite of passage.”
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is set for release on streaming service Netflix on May 3, 2019.