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John Malkovich has joined the cast of the thriller “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” as Judge Edward Cowart about the 1979 murder trial of serial killer Ted Bundy.

Cowart presided over the trial and sentenced Bundy to death. The trial was nationally televised, and drew media attention as Bundy eventually represented himself and developed a rapport with the judge. Zac Efron is starring in the role of Bundy opposite Lily Collins, who will be playing his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer.

The story is told from the point of view of Kloepfer, who had no knowledge of the murders while she was with Bundy. Production is set to begin on Jan. 18 with Joe Berlinger directing from a screenplay by Michael Werwie. The script won the Nicholl Fellowship prize and was named to the Black List.

Bundy was executed in 1989. Shortly before his execution, he confessed to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978.

Ara Keshishian and Nicolas Chartier are producing for Voltage Pictures. Michael Costigan is producing for Cota Entertainment. Michael Simkin is producing for Efron’s Ninjas Runnin’ Wild Productions. Voltage is fully financing, with Jonathan Deckter and Ninjas Runnin’ Wild’s Jason Barrett as executive producers.

The project was announced by Voltage Pictures at the Cannes Film Festival last year with Efron attached.

Malkovich recently appeared in “Deepwater Horizon.” He was nominated for Academy Awards for “Places in the Heart” and “In the Line of Fire.” He is repped by WME.