Moving further into thriller territory, former "High School Musical" star Zac Efron is taking a lead role in a feature about notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile."
Its award-winning script was named one of 2012's best unproduced screenplays by Hollywood movers and shakers, and its director is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning film and documentary maker.
Ted Bundy became infamous for a string of murders, the scope of which was only understood following his conviction at trial in 1979 -- he then began to detail over 30 other homicides.
Five years earlier, when he was known as a respectable college student and, previously, a political aide, his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer was among those first identifying Bundy as a murder suspect.
It's from Kloepfer's perspective that "Extremely Wicked..." will be told, while Joe Berlinger of the "Paradise Lost" trilogy, Metallica band profile "Some Kind of Monster" -- and a less well-received "Blair Witch" sequel -- is to direct.
Well known for playing heartthrob Troy Bolton in three "High School Musical" films, Efron's film career has featured multiple outings in comedies and romantic dramas, including "The Lucky One," "That Awkward Moment," two "Neighbors" movies, and "17 Again."
Last year's gross-out comedy "Dirty Grandpa" and this month's beachside outing "Baywatch" go some way to cementing that reputation.
Although he has been involved in a number of more serious productions -- JFK drama "Parkland," family thriller "At Any Price," Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" and Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" -- "Extremely Wicked..." appears to contain the darkest material to date.
Filming is scheduled to start in October. Voltage Pictures, of "The Hurt Locker," "Don Jon," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Colossal," is financing the production.