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WATCH: Zac Efron is serving body-ody-ody in wrestling biopic ‘The Iron Claw’—but there’s more to the story

Image Credit: ‘The Iron Claw,’ A24

In the days leading up to Christmas, movie theaters are usually packed with new releases meant for the whole family to enjoy together over holiday break.

And while upcoming wrestling biopic The Iron Claw, opening December 22, is technically a “family film,” it’s maybe not in your best interest to go see this one with your mom… for a couple of reasons.

For starters, the cast—which is heavy on hot actors wearing little more than spandex underwear—will have you feeling some type of way.

In the lead role is former High School Musical star Zac Efron, serving live-action He-Man realness. Seriously, this guy’s been ripped for as long as we can remember, but he’s taking it to a whole other level for The Iron Claw—which already looks like it could be his strongest screen performance ever.

Image Credit: ‘The Iron Claw,’ A24

Joining him are Shameless and The Bear “It Boy” Jeremy Allen White, indie favorite Harris Dickinson (if you haven’t seen him in gay drama Beach Rats yet, what are you waiting for?), relative newcomer Stanley Simons, and total daddy Holt McCallany. That’s a whole lot of beefcake.

Now, so far as we know, there’s nothing overtly gay about the movie—this is the story of the real-life Von Erich wrestling family, after all, and everyone these actors are playing is related.

But we’re talking wrestling here, and there’s always been something pretty homoerotic about the sport, no? (Just ask Cassandro!) When first-look photos dropped a few months back, everyone was saying the same thing:

Of course, the other reason this isn’t your typical family film is that, if you know anything about the Von Erichs, you know The Iron Claw has the potential to be the most depressing movie of the year.

We won’t spoil much here (there’s Wikipedia for that!), but there’s the term “Von Erich curse” for a reason. Under the ultra-strict coaching of their patriarch, Fritz Von Erich (McCallany) these brothers all pushed themselves to the brink to achieve wrestling world greatness, but instead veered right into tragedy after tragedy.

The Iron Claw comes from acclaimed indie studio A24 and writer-director Sean Durkin, who previously helmed the excellent psychological drama The Nest and the haunting cult thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene. It also co-stars Maura Tierney as the Von Erich boys’ mother, and Lily James—who we’ll love forever since she played Young Donna in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

In other words, don’t let those totally ’80s wigs fool you: Given the pedigree of talent and that plumb holiday season release date, we’re starting to think The Iron Claw could be a real awards contender.

The Iron Claw hits theaters everywhere on December 22. You can watch its muscle-filled first trailer below:

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