'The Iron Claw' is in theaters Dec. 22
Zac Efron is reflecting on “the biggest injury” sustained during his new wrestling movie: his ego.
Following the premiere of A24’s The Iron Claw at The Ritz Carlton in Dallas, Texas, this week the 36-year-old actor joked during a press conference that the most severe pain he experienced in training to play pro wrestler Kevin Von Erich “was probably an ego one.”
“It was the very first time that I had to enter the Sportatorium in Kevin's full costume, which was just, frankly, a Speedo, or trunks,” the actor recalled. “And everybody was out there, there was this huge crowd and the lights were on. I just remember in that moment thinking, how the hell did I end up here? What is going on?”
Amid all the roaring crowds and skimpy outfits, he remembered what went through his mind: “This is Magic Mike.”
He added, “In that moment I was frozen in time just going: This is it. This is the end. How did you get here? What choices have you made?”
Writer-director Sean Durkin said of the film’s skin-baring costuming, “We just wanted to celebrate you guys' beautiful thighs.”
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The Iron Claw tracks the "rise and fall of the Von Erich family, a dynasty of wrestlers who made a huge impact on the sport from the 1960s to the present day,” according to a synopsis.
As for the rest of the cast’s biggest injuries, the actors playing Kevin Von Erich’s late brothers each had different answers.
Jeremy Allen White, who plays Kerry, said he experienced “nothing catastrophic” from shooting The Iron Claw’s wrestling sequences. “The worst of it was really waking up a little sore,” said the Emmy-nominated The Bear star. “You got some bruises, for sure.”
“We had really good stunt coordinators on the set [who] were just looking out for us the whole time and making it safe,” added Stanley Simons, who plays Mike. “That is a testament to the environment that Sean created on the set. So I can say I got injured because I felt safe to do what I was doing because of the prep and because of the coordinators.”
Harris Dickinson, who plays David, quipped that his most dramatic injury occurred off-set: “I bit my tongue at a barbecue restaurant.”
Also present during the press conference was Kevin Von Erich himself, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 as the only remaining member of the Von Erich brothers. The 66-year-old said to the cast, “I'm sure that you guys were on your way to getting a few [injuries] because all the stuff you guys learned, it takes weeks to get comfortable with that.”
He shouted out the film’s consultant and stunt wrestling coordinator Chavo Guerrero, who “did a great job pushing them and getting them ready. Because it was a lot more difficult than it looks and they did so well.”
Asked what surprised him most about the world of professional wrestling, Efron said he gained “a tremendous respect for the athleticism involved.”
“There's a commitment and a level of agonizing torture, just pure athleticism for the sake of athleticism.”
"He was a mentor to me, and we made a really cool film together," he said. "I looked up to him, I learned comedic timing from that guy… It was so surreal for me to look across and have him be there, because I've learned so much from him, from his whole life."
He added of potentially starring as Perry in a future biopic of the Friends star, "We'll see. I'd be honored to do it."
The Iron Claw is in theaters Dec. 22.
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