Playing the role of a professional wrestler can wreak havoc on your body and mind after you stumble and fall a few times while shooting in the ring.
But for Zac Efronwho stepped into pro wrestler Kevin Von Erich’s Speedo for the new biographical sports film The Iron Claw, confessed that “the biggest injury” he suffered during all the high-flying action was his ego.
“It was the very first time I had to enter the Sportatorium in Kevin’s full costume, which honestly was just a Speedo or suitcase,” the actor recalled at a press conference after the film’s premiere in Dallas, Texas. “And everyone was there, there was a huge crowd and the lights were on. I remember thinking at that moment, how on earth did I get here? What is going on?’
As the raucous crowd screamed and shouted, Efron recalled the thought going through his head at that moment: “This is Magic Mike,” a reference to the 2012 film about male stripping.
The San Luis Obispo, California, resident added, “In that moment, I was frozen in time and thought, this is it. This is the end. How did you get here? What choices have you made?’
Bruised ego: Zac Efron, 36, admitted his ego suffered ‘the biggest injury’ when he had a shooting scene at The Iron Claw in what amounts to skimpy Speedos
Written and directed by Sean Durkin, the film centers on the Von Erich (née Adkisson) family, a dynasty of professional wrestlers from Texas who enjoyed enormous success, especially in the 1980s, and popularized the iron-claw professional wrestling grip.
Efron, 36, stars opposite Jeremy Allen White (Kerry Von Erich), 32, and Harris Dickinson (David Von Erich), 27, who all play brothers.
When told he was hesitant to jump around in a barely-there Speedo, Durkin joked, “We just wanted to celebrate y’all’s nice thighs.”
The story follows the true story of the rise and fall of wrestler Kevin Von Erich and his brothers, who left a lasting impact on the sport.
The Baywatch alum was also expected to reveal at Wednesday’s press conference how his real-life character Von Erich motivated him to hit the gym and have fun in order to play the role.
“The physicality he brought to the ring every day was truly unique. It changed wrestling,” Efron said Entertainment tonight, before adding, “I knew this would be the hardest thing for me to master and get right.” So I put everything I had into it.”
The real Kevin Von Erich, now 66, was also present at the press conference. He made a point to compliment film consultant and stunt wrestling coordinator Chavo Guerrero for doing a “great job of pushing them and getting them ready.” Because it was a lot harder than it looks and they did it so well.’
When asked what he thought about professional wrestling now that he had firsthand experience training and performing in the ring, Efron said he had “gained a tremendous respect for the athleticism that comes with it.”
‘Revealing: there was a huge crowd and the lights were on. I remember thinking at that moment, how on earth did I get here? What is going on?’ Efron (left) said he had to shoot scenes in Speedos for the raucous crowd
Moment of clarity: As the raucous crowd screamed and shouted, Efron recalled the thought going through his mind at that moment: “This is Magic Mike,” in a reference to the 2012 film about male stripping
Wrestling Family: Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson play two of Kevin Von Erich’s (Efron) brothers in the sports biopic written and directed by Sean Durkin
Stripped Down: Efron and White have a lot of scenes in Speedos
Coming soon: The Iron Claw opens in US theaters on December 22 and then in the UK on February 9, 2024
“There’s a level of dedication and a level of painful torture, just pure athleticism for the sake of athleticism,” he explained.
Efron was previously taller and wore Speedos for his role in the Baywatch film (2017) with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
While The Iron Claw shows the family’s rise in the sport, it unfortunately also chronicles the many battles and tragedies they faced outside the ring, dubbed the “Von Erich Curse.”
In addition to Efron, White and Dickinson, the cast also includes Maura Tierney, Stanley Simons, Holt McCallany, Lily James, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Brady Pierce, Aaron Dean Eisenberg, Kevin Anton, Cazzey Louis Cereghino, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ryan Nemeth and Scott Innes.
The Iron Claw is expected to premiere in US theaters on December 22 and then in the UK on February 9, 2024.