Ross Lynch has joined the ranks of Jeremy Renner and American Horror Story player Seth Gabel, as he's now also taken on the role of convicted serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in the upcoming film My Friend Dahmer

With a background rooted in Disney shows like Austin & Ally, R5 member and Teen Beach 2 star may seem like a surprising choice to portray Dahmer, who was 32 when he was sentenced for 17 known murders of men mostly occurring in Wisconsin. But the graphic memoir the movie is based on, My Friend Dahmer — written and illustrated by Dahmer's former high school classmate Derf Backderf — tells the story of the murderer's teenaged formative years as seen through the eyes of Backderf and his friends.

Then a socially withdrawn, eventually hard-drinking student with a penchant for amateur taxidermy and pranks, Dahmer (as Backderf tells it) was already fighting dark urges and was largely left to his own devices by his emotionally-absent parents. Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts will play the mother and father of Lynch's Dahmer in the film. Lynch's fellow former child star Alex Wolff will play Backderf, and it will also feature Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser.

Amazon/Derf Backderf, Abrams
Amazon/Derf Backderf, Abrams

"That's a wrap on My Friend Dahmer. There's nothing like the bonding experience of making a movie," Lynch tweeted on September 3 about the project, which is currently in post-production.

The screenplay was written not by original author Backderf but by the movie's director Marc Meyers, which ultimately may be a good thing: While both the incredible illustrations and Backderf's unique firsthand experience with Dahmer make My Friend Dahmer an absorbing and occasionally chilling read, Backderf's take on what helped lead to Dahmer's descent into gory acts of necrophilia and cannibalism turns regrettably facile when he plays the role of armchair psychologist. Particularly when Backderf, who poses himself as the product of a happy home in direct inverse to that of Dahmer's, flirts with the idea that the killer's impulses might've been curbed with better parenting.

Either way, we're looking forward to seeing Lynch play the darkest role of his career. My Friend Dahmer is tentatively slated for a 2017 release.

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