The actor was photographed looking unrecognizable on the set of the sports drama The Iron Claw in October 2022. Nine months later, A24 announced that the film will hit theaters nationwide in December.
Efron stars as real-life professional wrestler Kevin Von Erich, who left his mark on the competitive sport in the 1980s along with brothers Kerry, David and Mike — portrayed by Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Stanley Simons, respectively.
Keep scrolling for everything we know about The Iron Claw so far:
What Is ‘The Iron Claw’ About?
The A24 flick follows the Von Erich family, a real pro wrestling dynasty consisting of Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany) and his sons. The family was plagued by a series of tragedies outside of the ring, spawning the myth of a “Von Erich curse.”
Sean Durkin, best known for directing the films Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Nest, wrote and directed the upcoming drama.
How Did Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White Change Their Appearances for ‘The Iron Claw’?
In November 2022, White told GQ that he was attempting to put on 40 pounds of muscle to portray Kerry.
The Bear star also told the outlet that Efron had sent him “a really lovely note” after he booked the role which read: “Get training, eat, keep doing what you’re doing, stay hard.”
That same month, A24’s Twitter page shared a still from the movie of a muscular Efron kicking a man in the boxing ring.
Who Else Stars In ‘The Iron Claw’?
James gushed about Efron’s “extraordinary” performance in the film while talking to reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTA Film Awards in February.
“He’s really transformed,” she said after admitting that his “incredibly muscly” physique was a bit “distracting.”
What Have ‘The Iron Claw’ Stars Said About the Film?
White drew parallels between his characters in The Iron Claw and The Bear during a November 2022 interview with GQ.
“There’s something human about never feeling like you are really your own man,” he told the outlet, noting that both characters feel out of place with their surroundings. “All great drama is about family, whether it’s blood or not. It’s about acceptance, it’s about belonging and just getting away from loneliness.”
How Does the Real Kevin Von Erich Feel About ‘The Iron Claw’?
As the sole surviving son of Fritz — and the only Von Erich brother who didn’t die young — Kevin admitted during a June appearance on the “Haus of Wrestling” podcast that he had fears the film would “make my dad look terrible and make Kerry look terrible.”
However, after his sons, Ross and Marshall — who have also pursued pro wrestling — visited the set to do stunt work, he felt better.
“Sean Durkin called me, and I got a feeling it’s going to be a really good movie,” he said. Kevin added that his niece Hollie — Kerry’s daughter — had an opportunity to meet McCallany, who plays the family patriarch, Fritz.
“When Hollie saw him, she immediately cried. She loved my dad so much, all of the kids loved my dad,” Kevin said. “When the actor saw that Hollie had cried, he started crying. It just said to me that these people are really pouring their hearts into this, they really want to do a good work. If you try that hard, I really think you’re gonna do alright. I can’t wait to see it, I think it’s going to be a good movie.”
When Does ‘The Iron Claw’ Come Out?
The movie hits theaters nationwide on December 22, 2023.