“Please, God, no,” was the first thing Luke Kirby thought after reading the script of No Man of God, Amber Sealey’s new film about Ted Bundy.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star plays the serial killer himself — but needed a lot of convincing from Sealey.
“Everyone has their own taste. This type of material is certainly the kind of thing that has a… it has beyond an ‘ick’ factor. It has a repulsion factor to it, and I’m speaking specifically to the character because I know that the story, writ large, is bigger than that,” Kirby told MovieMaker‘s Micah Khan. “But at the beginning, the sense was one of revulsion.”
Still, there was something compelling about the way Sealey approached Ted Bundy, who has been portrayed onscreen many times before. No Man of God is in theaters and our on VOD now.
“Inside the script, there’s a story about two men coming together in their own way, one of them specifically, Bill, trying to better understand someone to, one hopes, push things forward in terms of understanding the dynamics of another man’s violence and horror,” Kirby said. “I kind of just thought to myself, I don’t think that I want to breathe through this. It just didn’t feel good. And so I kind of just tried to gently walk away, and Amber was able to get through to me.”
It was March 2020 — the beginning of nationwide awareness of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. — so Kirby and Sealey met outside in a park, where she was able to convince him to join the project as Ted Bundy.
But Kirby was clear that he made no attempts to glorify Bundy in any way.
“There was very little sort of sense of responsibility to any legacy of his. Not because we wanted to be punitive or anything, but because it’s sort of, by virtue of the trauma he’s inflicted on the world, it’s kind of like — what’s my responsibility to his mythology?”
In Sealey’s capable hands, Kirby felt supported in reaching down deep to see what he could bring to his portrayal of Bundy, who’s been played in the past by actors including Cary Elwes, Mark Harmon, and most recently Zac Efron.
“I felt kind of liberated with her,” he said of Sealey. “I kind of felt like I could do anything, try anything, throw anything at the wall, and so in that way I sort of felt freer to just muck about and see what stuck.”
Khan asked Kirby one question that stopped him in his tracks: “Did you learn anything about yourself as an actor through playing this role?”
“I learned something about, you know, the monsters that we carry with us. And that, in some ways that at a certain age, you know — this is so trite and stupid to be saying,” he joked with self-deprecating humor. “I came into it with great reluctance, and I kind of was like, my whole my mantra was like, I don’t wanna. I just don’t wanna. And then in sort of going through it, I found out that I was the one that was carrying something, And I felt sort of free from that afterwards, like everything that I was scared of, it didn’t follow me.”
You can watch the full interview above.
No Man of God, starring Luke Kirby as Ted Bundy, is out in theaters and on VOD Friday.
This story was originally posted on Aug. 20 and has been updated with the release of No Man of God.