On the occasion of the release of “Iron Claw”, here are five things to know about this biopic starring a transformed Zac Efron.

What is it about ? The inseparable Von Erich brothers left their mark on the history of professional wrestling in the early 80s. Trained with an iron fist by a tyrannical father, they will have to fight in the ring and in their lives. Between triumphs and tragedies, this new gem produced by A24 is inspired by their own story.

“This is no way to live.”

To play the impulsive wrestler Kerry Von Erich, Jeremy Allen White, like Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson and Stanley Simons, trained as a professional wrestler while eating a lot. In total, he gained 18 kilos. The actor remembers: “I never stopped eating. In the morning I ate waffles with almond butter. During the day I ate turkey and avocado. It's really disgusting. I had to consume the most possible and, to be honest, I didn't feel very good. I was also training a lot, but trying to get that big is no way to live.”


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Sean Durkin loves wrestling

Born in 1981, Sean Durkin grew up in England. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was not easy to obtain information regarding Texas wrestling. At that time, although it was possible to obtain VHS tapes of old events, they were rare. His most reliable source of information was magazines such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated. The director remembers: “One day I went into a newsagent's and found the latest issue, which was probably a few months old. My mother bought it for me and I read it while we were having dinner in a Chinese restaurant one day. Saturday night.”

“I remember opening a page and reading the news of Kerry Von Erich's death. It broke my heart. I had seen him wrestle live several times and was a huge fan of him and his family. I knew his other brothers had died some time before, and to think of another brother gone was too hard. It was too much. My thoughts were with his family, and that memory stayed somewhere in my mind for most of my life.”


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Harris Dickinson, Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White et Stanley Simons

Zac Efron tout en muscles

For the purposes of Iron Claw, Zac Efron has (again) gained muscle. For this, the 36-year-old actor opted for “bulking”, a fitness method combining calorie surplus and intensive weight training. The objective: to increase the muscles (and therefore the physical strength) very significantly, while gradually reducing the fat mass. A practice that can prove dangerous for the body if it is not rigorously supervised with a coach: in terms of bodybuilding, rest time and especially diet.

Generally speaking, the procedure with bulking is to consume approximately 20% more daily calories than the body needs, to increase your weight by approximately 0.5% each week. This amounts to ingesting close to 2,750 calories per day while continuing to eat relatively healthily (with rigorous control of the different nutrient levels in meals). At the same time, exercises with dumbbells must be both intense and progressive, favoring short sets with heavy weights.

Zac Efron transformed into his best role! Why shouldn't you miss Iron Claw at the cinema?

Tragic destinies

If the father, Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany), lived to the age of 68 (he died in 1997), five of his six sons died before him, three of them by suicide… eldest, Jack Jr., died accidentally when he was six years old. In 1984, David (Harris Dickinson) died due to acute enteritis of the intestine. Mike (Stanley Simons), Chris (Sean Durkin chose not to include him in the film so as not to further darken the plot) and Kerry (Jeremy Allen White) committed suicide in 1987, 1991 and 1993. Played by Zac Efron in the film, Kevin is the only one still alive.

Le Sportatorium de Dallas

The reconstruction of the Sportatorium, in which the various events linked to wrestling take place, was a real challenge, as production designer James Price recalls: “It was a pretty shabby place. There's a little film on YouTube where you see Kevin walking around there when it was demolished in the early 2000s. He says he still had scars on his back, due to girls scratching him when he and his brothers got in the ring. It was a very intimate place and we wanted to be true to that. It felt like we were in a warehouse, and that's what we tried to recreate.”

James and his team recreated the environment in which the Von Erichs competed, from Fritz's office that overlooked the ring to the locker rooms where the boys started and finished matches: “The set allowed in a single shot to start with the locker rooms, follow the Von Erich brothers backstage, then move into the interview room and finish in the ring. Once the actors entered this set, they found themselves immersed in this world and there was no cheating possible.”

By Vanniyar Adrian

Vanniyar Adrian is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.