In anticipation of the film’s premiere tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival, we sat down with actor and producer Elijah Wood (Come to Daddy, I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore), Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and director Amber Sealey to discuss their new Ted Bundy project. Following the close relationship that developed between Bundy and FBI agent Bill Hagmaier while the serial killer was in prison, No Man of God feels like an extended episode of David Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter. That’s a very good thing.
Related Article: RLJE Films Snags New Ted Bundy Horror Movie NO MAN OF GOD
Perhaps best known for portraying legendary comedian Lenny Bruce in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Luke Kirby’s nuanced performance as Bundy is worth the price of admission alone. Sealey’s direction, as well, adds more layers by subtly revealing the line between celebrity and sensationalism and exploring how American society largely dictates our behavior.
In our interview below, we talk about what it took for Wood’s production company SpectreVision to get the film up and running with Sealey on board, if Ted Bundy is crazier than Lenny Bruce, and if the three of them would actually be able to kill somebody. (For Halloween fans, I couldn’t help but bring up Luke Kirby’s death in Halloween: Resurrection at the hands of Michael Myers.)
Tickets are still available for the Tribeca At Home screening tonight! Click the link for info.
Synopsis: In 1980, Ted Bundy was sentenced to death by electrocution. In the years that followed, he agreed to disclose the details of his crimes, but only to one man. No Man of God is based on the true story of the strange and complicated relationship that developed between FBI agent Bill Hagmaier (Wood) and an incarcerated Ted Bundy (Kirby) in the years leading to Bundy’s execution.
Dread Central: I’m so excited for the new Bill & Ted movie. That’s going to be a fun joke for you guys.
Amber Sealey: Yes it is, it is. It was very hard not to call it Bill & Ted’s Big Adventure.
DC: Let’s start off with an easy ice breaker question. Bundy asked Bill fairly early on and I wanted to ask it to the three of you. Do you think you could kill somebody?
Amber Sealey: (laughs) I know that I could, yes. This is speaking for myself only. I’d feel bad about it but…
Elijah Wood: Obviously, the only circumstance where I feel like I’d be capable of it, and even then it would be hard, would be just in sort of either self defense or defense of someone else that I loved, you know?
Luke Kirby: Jeez, Elijah you’ve really thought this through.
AS: If somebody did something to my kids, I don’t know how I’d feel but I imagine that I’d want to kill them.
LK: I was gonna say emphatically NO. It’s written into the constitution of being human. It’s like rule number one! Umm…but yeah, of course. I mean sure why not, I’ll join in. If everyone else is gonna do it.
AS: You don’t want to be the lone non-murderer.
LK: That’s the worst part is the loneliness. (laughs)
DC: Luke, you’ve gained a lot of fans playing Lenny Bruce in Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Who do you think was crazier, Lenny Bruce or Ted Bundy?
LK: Oh jesus. Who’s crazier. I think we know. I…think…we…know. But I’ll let you decide.
DC: I’ve always been fascinated with the effort it takes to get a film off the ground and Elijah you’re also a producer on the film. How long have both you and Amber been shepherding this project? It’s always a Herculean feat to get a film made.
EW: It is. From the producorial standpoint, we’ve been attached to the film…we meaning SpectreVision…for five years? Six years? A long time. We sort of picked up steam and kind of found the path to make it and that’s when we met Amber. We fell in love with Amber’s vision for the film and it was relatively quick after that, right Amber? Once you came aboard, we were sort of off to the races.
AS: Yeah, we started going into prep a months later after we met. And then the pandemic happened and shut us down.
DC: Oh that, yeah.
AS: That little thing. Once we recognized how we could do it safely, we were up and running again.
EW: It was kind of an interesting blessing in disguise it felt. I don’t know if you felt the same way, Amber. I remember thinking it was lovely to have a forced, extended prep period where we had more time to think about it and more time to plan. But honestly, not much changed in terms of the script to accommodate it. It was already relatively perfectly suited for the circumstances given that the majority of the film is two men in a room.
DC: Luke, I wanted to ask you about stepping into the shoes of him. With Lenny Bruce, you had a lot of footage but, here, you must have had access to a lot more research and footage of Bundy if you chose to really go digging. How much do you want to know about a real-life character before you feel comfortable? For you, is there a fine line between imitation versus acting?
LK: Yeah, maybe. I didn’t want to be the Rich Little of Bundy. I don’t want to take this on the road or onto cruises or anything.
EW: (cackles) Oh my god, a cruise ship!
AS: I could see that cruise selling.
LK: It’s true, especially right now. An Evening With Ted. All of that stuff is very useful and helpful. I wasn’t especially drawn to any of that stuff but I had to absorb it as much as I could stomach.
AS: You listened to all of the recordings because we talked about them a lot.
LK: I did, I listened to them a lot. I’d go for drives with my wife in the car and listen to them and listen to them. Thankfully, she’s a bit more ghoulish than I am and had no conflict with it. It’s all there to be absorbed and hopefully just spit it out and make some sense of it.
DC: Speaking of ghoulishness, I really remember you from Halloween: Resurrection. I think you get your skull crushed by Michael. You’ve now been killed by a horror icon and now you’re playing another horror icon of sorts.
LK: That’s right, the hunter becomes the hunted. The classic turn. All men must have this experience. As the years go on, I’m so happy that I experienced death at the hands of Michael Myers.
EW: Well, I mean, that is a pretty incredible, iconic character to have been killed by.
AS: I’m just over here on IMDb going ‘What are they talking about?’
LK: (laughs) You outed me! She never would have hired me.
Look for more of this interview closer to the theatrical release of No Man of God in August 2021.