Metallica frontman James Hetfield is to make his dramatic debut opposite Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, the upcoming film about American serial killer Ted Bundy.

With Efron cast against type as Bundy, Hetfield's first dramatic role sees him play Officer Bob Hayward, the Utah highway patrol officer who was the first to arrest Bundy in 1975. He was later released due to lack of evidence. 

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is currently in production and reunites Hetfield with Joe Berlinger, who co-directed the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster and was also behind the lens for the Paradise Lost series of films about the so-called West Memphis Three case in the US.

"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," said the director 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."

The film will be told from the perspective of Bundy's longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins.

Kloepfer initially denied accusations made against her partner but later alerted police to his suspicious behaviour and turned him in to authorities. 

The cast also includes John Malkovich, Haley Joel Osment, Jim Parsons and Kaya Scodelario.

After a number of arrests and escapes, Bundy was convicted of killing a 12-year-old girl and two Florida State University sorority sisters. He was sentenced to death and executed in January 1989. 

Before his death Bundy confessed to murdering more than 30 women and girls in the 1970s but the true number of his victims is still unknown and could possibly be much higher.