brotherly love

Zac Efron is all beef in new wrestling photo, but will film include this accidental gay moment?

Zac Efron

Zac Efron has again morphed into Jacked Efron for his latest film, and a new production still shows his physique in high-flying action.

The 35-year-old plays real-life wrestling legend Kevin Von Erich in A24’s upcoming drama The Iron Claw. The biopic tells the story of Von Erich, aka the “Golden Warrior,” and his wrestling dynasty lineage. And depending on how wide a net the filmmakers cast, they have the opportunity to include an unexpected gay footnote in his storied history.

Related: Zac Efron exemplifies the gay millennial life cycle, meme argues

Kevin was one of the sons of Fritz Von Erich, whose real name was Jack Adkisson. Dad Fritz began his career playing a Nazi on the wrestling circuit in the 50s and 60s. He became hugely successful and his sons followed him into the ring, often utilizing their father’s trademark “Iron Claw” finishing move.

Efron took to Instagram to show off his own moves:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Zac Efron (@zacefron)

The preview proved an instant hit with his followers. The Staircase star Patrick Schwarzenegger, for instance, commented that he’s “Pumped for this.”

Now that we’ve seen Efron in action, it explains this backstage photo that made the rounds last month in which the actor looked virtually unrecognizable:

As for how Von Erich himself feels about Zac’s portrayal, you can count him a fan as well.

The former wrestler, now 65, gave his stamp of approval to TMZ, telling the site, “I didn’t ever look that good. He looked great though, he must be working really hard.”

Related: A nude photoshoot helped this WWE superstar become a solid ally (and a sex symbol for gay fans)

And OK, we’re not going to hold our breath on the film including this gay gaffe Von Erich made. But since it had a surprisingly positive outcome, we thought we’d give it the instant replay treatment.

During a WWE Hall of Fame speech in 2016, the former wrestler was trying to hype up “The New Day” wrestling team, consisting of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E.

Instead, Von Erich said, “These new gay guys are brothers because they love each other, and it’s working”: 

Where’s the lie?!

The gaffe itself was nothing much to write home about, until New Day wrestler Kofi responded.

And while homophobia remains a problem in pro wrestling and pro sports in general–just this week, a WWE wrestler was taken to task for using a gay slur–Kofi took a much different approach.

Related: Pro wrestler Darren Young reflects on being the first openly gay WWE performer

“And for the record, it’s 2016 & The New Day transcends ALL demographics! #NewGayRocks!” Kofi tweeted:

Part of The New Day wrestlers’ brand is preaching “the power of positivity,” and Kofi’s decision to turn the verbal stumble into an opportunity to show allyship and celebrate diversity did not go unnoticed:

So who knows, maybe The Iron Claw will be such a big hit that this accidental moment of queer inclusion makes it into the sequel. We’d even take a Marvel-style post credits scene.

The film is tentatively set for a 2023 release.

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