Disney alum Ross Lynch plays gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the upcoming feature film My Friend Dahmer.

The 21-year-old Lynch is best known for playing Austin Moon in the Disney Channel's Austin & Ally and Brady in the Teen Beach Movie series. He's also a founding member of the pop rock band R5, which is currently on tour.

Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. While serving time at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994. He was 34.

My Friend Dahmer is based on the graphic memoir of the same name by John “Derf” Backderf. In the novel, Backderf recounts his teenage friendship with Dahmer. It follows Dahmer from age 12 to the day he committed his first murder, two weeks after graduation from high school.

“You hear about serial killers and think it's a terrible thing,” Lynch told LGBT glossy OUT, “but Dahmer went the extra mile. It was shocking.”

“You have to put yourself in the person's world, and his was very isolated,” he continued. “A big thing for me was the question you'd ask about any killer: Is it nature or nurture?”

Backderf's portrait of Dahmer is of a lonely young man neglected by the adults in his life, a point not lost on Lynch.

“Maybe we can make better efforts with people who seem out of place,” Lynch added. “Maybe we can step in and avoid creating more Jeffrey Dahmers.”

My Friend Dahmer opens Friday, November 3.