New title ‘Killing Theodore’ breathes new life in Ted Bundy documentary
Celene Beth Calderon’s Ted Bundy documentary series “Theodore” has a new title: “Killing Theodore.”
The name change, which was proposed by producer Timothy John Psarras, symbolizes the killing the myth and the legend behind one of the United States’ most notorious serial killers, and is countering the “Bundy Mania” that has grown over the past couple of years, according to Calderon.
“Because of other documentaries and a feature film that starred Zach Efron, Ted Bundy is now a sex symbol and icon, and that’s what has been perpetuated over the past couple of years,” the filmmaker said. “So in addition to changing our title, we feel it’s our time to take some steps and look at how we can shape this narrative and give it back to modern day society and the victims.”
Spotlighting the victims’ plight has always been one of the goals for the series, which Calderon and Psarras started making in 2017.
“Originally it was going to be about Ted Bundy and his victims,” she said. “After we did some initial interviews with survivors and victims’ families, we decided it needed to be about the victims.”
The project is undergoing a slight shift during the COVID-19 pandemic, Calderon said.
“While we’re stuck at home, we’re revamping every episode to how we really want them to be,” she said. “So when we can go out, we plan to do some follow ups with prior interviewees.”
The series will also include some insight by Calderon and Psarras.
“We plan to talk about our journey, and give the audience a glimpse of how we have changed as people while working on this thing,” Calderon said.
One change for Calderon is her increased advocacy work for battered women.
“This all started because of the work I was doing on this project,” she said.
Another change was reexamining the series’ tie-in merchandise, which included T-shirts that were sold to help raise funds for the filming.
“What has happened over the past couple of years is the rise of ‘murder-bilia,’ including Ted Bundy Christmas wrapping paper that was available over the holidays,” Calderon said. “That really made us step back and decide to discontinue our T-shirts. We need to have the last say in this.”
The last say may take longer than anticipated because the production is in limbo due to disagreements with the production company, according to the filmmaker.
The production company, Burning Wheel Productions, indicated it hopes to resolve the dispute shortly, however.
“… [W]e came onto this production to support a first time female filmmaker as we know how hard it is in this industry to get that crucial first production made,” said producer Shelley Hammond in an email.
“We remain committed to this project and the insight, consideration and care it brings to an often mis-told story.”
Editor’s note: This article has been changed to reflect comments from Burning Wheel Productions. The Park Record originally published the article without seeking comment from the company. The Park Record regrets the error.
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