The Ted Bundy drama Not a man of God is now available in theaters and on VOD. Directed by Amber Sealey, the film stars Elijah Wood as FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier and Luke Kirby as the infamous serial killer.
“In 1980 Ted Bundy was electrocuted to death. In the years that followed, he agreed to reveal details of his crimes, but only to one man, ”the official summary said. “In the early days of the agency’s criminal profiling unit, FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier met with incarcerated Ted Bundy in hopes of understanding the serial killer’s psychology and closing the victim’s families. When Hagmaier plunges into Bundy’s dark and twisted mind, a strange and complicated relationship develops that neither of them had expected. “
RELATED: Interview: No Man of God Director Amber Sealey Discusses Ted Bundy’s Drama
ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke with Not a man of God Star Elijah Wood, who also acted as producer, on what interested him in the role, Bundy and Hagmaier’s relationship and his thoughts on Kanye West as Donda emerges.
Tyler Treese: I loved No Man of God. I found the achievements of you and Luke Kirby so incredible. The movie is interesting because it’s just the two of you, but it’s so compelling and Amber was able to direct it in such a unique way. How fascinating was this film from a purely acting point of view, knowing that so much of your two appearances was being worn?
Elijah Wood: [Laughs] Yes, exactly. No pressure. Lord God. Well, you see, I think that was one of the more enticing aspects from an acting standpoint, that it’s a two-handed sword. It is so uniquely structured that it is a series of these conversations that these two men have over the course of four years. That kind of pressure was exciting. The challenge was exciting in making these scenes dynamic enough to be consistently interesting and also thought provoking and at times potentially disturbing and scary. It depends on us as actors to bring this to life.
I have to say that working with Luke Kirby has been made a lot easier for me. He’s so amazing and brought to life in such a haunting and human and interesting and fascinating way. Just going to work with him every day was a lot of fun. Like I said, it made my job easier, but yes, that kind of structure of the film was partly why it was so exciting to make this film.
There are endless documentaries and films telling the story of Ted Bundy from different angles, but it felt like that particular part of his story had never been told before. That was really interesting. I knew quite a bit about Ted Bundy before I read the script, but I didn’t know about his relationship with Bill Hagmaier and the fact that he considered Bill Hagmaier his best friend before he died and that he bequeathed his earthly possessions to Bill before he died died. There was something so significant about this relationship with him, and that by allowing himself and Ted to get close to him, Bill was able to close some of those families, to get him to admit things he had done had … that he was very, very insecure about disclosing information.
What was it like talking to the real Bill Hagmaier and just learning from his experiences?
It was amazing to talk to them. The unfortunate aspect of shooting our film last September is that it was shot completely COVID compliant. I couldn’t meet him in person. I still haven’t met him personally. We had planned to go east again and really hang out with him, which I would have liked to have done, but the phone would be enough. He was an incredible asset for me and also for Luke and for Amber very much. Amber emailed him about so many specific details and sometimes it was exactly like the color of his shoes and he was so willing with information that really helped us paint a very accurate picture of what was going on between the two.
Speaking of which, I think it’s great that you mentioned the word “human” because we don’t see that often with Ted. I would like to hear your thoughts on this relationship between Bill and Ted. It’s strange to say a friendship, but there was some kind of bond.
Yes. It’s a fun one. Both would have very different interpretations of what happened and what really exists between them. Bill would, would not regard his relationship with Ted as friendship. Ted did it. My interpretation is that Ted felt he was seen. Ted, by and large with law enforcement, has probably been judged with quite a bit of ego, various people trying to get something out of him and probably in many cases benefiting from him or writing a book about him later. As if he really felt this kind of transactional relationship with so many of these people and therefore lacked any belief or trust. Bill treated him like a human. He came with no judgments. He, he really allowed him to be who he was and I think in that sense he really felt seen and understood.
He interpreted that as friendship. I think he did his job for Bill. He tried to get as much information out of him as possible. Certainly for the families of the victims who did not know where the remains of their daughters were. That was an important goal of his, beyond just gathering information about how his brain worked and why he was doing what he was doing. But I think that over the course of four years, if I sit down with someone multiple times, and for hours at a time, I think something is happening. There is an exchange from one person to another, regardless of the fact that one of these people is capable of unspeakable deeds. At some point there will still be common ground. There will be something that you all relate to together. I think that would have been something that Bill would probably have taken from it. It’s not like friendship, but there was a real human-human exchange, you see?
I have to ask, I saw you tweet about Yeezus earlier this month and Kanye is my favorite artist. So I really wanted to have your three best Kanye albums right now.
Oh. I never get this question. My darling is Jesus, and then I would go Dark twisted fantasy and then maybe 808s.
Impressive. We have the same three favorites. That is amazing. Fantastic.
[Laughs] I am very, very curious about Donda. I didn’t get a chance to watch it at the listening party last night, but there is a lot of new material. Jay-Z’s verse has been removed.
Yes. For DaBaby.
Yes. I’m very excited to see what happens, but it looked like an incredible theatrical spectacle. I mean, he set himself on fire, the replica of his childhood home. I mean he’s an amazing artist. There is no doubt. There is no one like him who does what he does at his level. I read that he already made $ 12 million on a record that he hasn’t even released. This kind of almost performative art around the creation of a record is simply fascinating and somehow unbelievable. I’m curious.
Then my last question here, this is such an exciting week. Psychonauts 2 just came out and your role, Nick Johnsmith, has so much depth and this character went in so many directions that I wasn’t expecting. How exciting was it to work with Tim Schafer again and just have such a cool character?
So much fun working with Tim and Khris who run the voiceover sessions, Khris Brown. She’s gorgeous. It was kind of a dream for me to work with Tim Broken Age. I grew up with his games. You know, those Lucasarts games were really impressive when I was growing up. I never thought that I could read his dialogues and work with him and then continue working with him on other projects. So it’s still a dream. I very much hope that I can work on something else with him. It’s just so much fun. I can’t wait to play it. I recorded the voice for it so long ago. I actually forgot so much about the character and what happened. So I can’t wait to play the game. I am very excited.
Thank you for your time today and I hope you keep working on games. I love broadcast. I thought this was such a powerful work of art.
Oh man. Thanks very much. I’m glad you played it. That’s great. I love to hear that.