The horrors of Ted Bundy are well documented. That said, The work of one FBI agent, Bill Hagmaier, who worked tirelessly to get Bundy to admit to his crimes and bring closure to his victim’s families, has never been told until now. “What was intriguing about this particular story was that it wasn’t a film about Ted’s exploits. It wasn’t a film that detailed his violence, and it wasn’t about the trial,” Elijah Wood, who plays Hagmeier opposite Luke Kirby’s electrifying portrayal of Bundy, says about No Man of God (in theaters and on demand on August 27). “We were trying to get the movie made for about five years.” But once they did, it was clear Wood and Kirby were on to something. “I’m in awe of Luke as an actor.” Despite the heavy subject matter, the production offered the cast a sense of relief after months of isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic. “As crazy as it sounds for a movie that is dealing in this sort of darkness, there was a lot of levity on set, and a lot of joy just engaging with people after lockdown.”
What about Bill’s story made you want to do No Man of God?
It was a different story that we’d never heard before. I’ve read a fair amount about Ted, and I didn’t know anything about this particular relationship. He considered Bill to be his best friend. He actually willed all of his earthly possessions to him when he died.
What was it like sitting across from Luke Kirby as Ted Bundy?
Remarkable. Luke had a very different journey in this film, obviously. He was sort of touching the void in a way that I didn’t have to. Sitting opposite him as Ted, it was definitely uncanny at times.
How do you find projects to produce and do you decide the ones you also want to act in?
It’s very much a heart response. I’m never thinking about it from the perspective of acting in any of them. In every case, my producing partners have had to shift my focus and go, you might want to consider this. That was the case on No Man of God.
It’s the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings. What impact did those films have on your career?
Getting to work on something of that size and scale and scope was life changing. I was 18 when I flew to New Zealand, and I was 22 when we finished; those were really formative years. I think most about the profound impact they had on my life.
“It was a different story that we’d never heard before.”