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Zac Efron & his ‘Iron Claw’ co-stars on going nude and getting very, very intimate for wrestling biopic

Image Credit: YouTube, Entertainment Weekly

If the past few days are any indication, America is about to be in the grip of The Iron Claw.

The new movie from writer-director Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Nest) and indie studio A24, The Iron Claw is a biopic of the Von Erich wrestling dynasty, a family of athletes who became stars of the ring in the ’80s, but met tragedy after tragedy—it’s what’s been dubbed the “Von Erich curse.”

Hitting theaters just before the holidays on December 22, it’d be the perfect movie to see with your family… if it didn’t sound so very sad.

Still, expectations are sky-high for the film, especially among gays eager for a chance to see stars like Zac Efron (High School Musical), Jeremy Allen White (The Bear), and Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats) more jacked than ever and wearing little more than tiny, colorful wrestling briefs.

Of course, they’re all playing brothers, so there’s not necessarily anything explicitly queer about The Iron Claw, but—like all things wrestling—there is a certain homoerotic appeal to the movie.

And that’s a fact everyone involved seems to be keenly aware of because, otherwise, how do you end up with a promotional photoshoot that features all three guys seductively eating chicken wings in slow-motion?

@entertainment_weekly Order up. Ladies and gentlemen, #TheIronClaw cast. #JeremyAllenWhite #ZacEfron #HarrisDickinson #YesChef ♬ Fighters – OctaSounds

Like, come on! You know what you’re doing here, The Iron Claw!

That finger-lickin’-good video is actually part of an Entertainment Weekly cover story that dropped this week and had the whole internet in a chokehold. The accompanying photo spread is so in-your-face MASC that it’s basically camp, showcasing the guys at peak rugged handsomeness as they lounge around a farm, bearing their biceps and abs.

In conversation, the trio discusses what is was like to prepare for their roles as wrestlers, noting the film’s period-specific attention to details, especially with the costumes—or lack thereof.

One notable moment finds Efron remarking how he relished the scenes where he “actually got to wear something,” considering his character is so frequently in teeny, revealing athletic wear.

“It was quite weird being that naked in front of that many strangers,” his co-star Dickinson agrees.

“It’s kind of weird how quickly you get used to it though, isn’t it?” White chimes in. “The first day I was like a little bit [uncomfortable,] but then… in the end, I loved it,” he says with a laugh.

Well, alright then, sounds like we’re going to love it, too!

The guys did, however, manage to clean themselves up and put some actual clothes on for the world premiere of The Iron Claw at the historic Texas Theatre in Dallas, not too far from where the Von Erichs grew up.

Actually, the real Kevin Von Erich was there in person (Efron plays him in the film), as was director Sean Durkin, and co-star Stanley Simons (who plays another of the Von Erich brothers).

Somewhat serendipitously, it was while the stars walked the red carpet that the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) reached a deal with the AMPTP, effectively ending the strike (produced by indie studio A24, The Iron Claw cast already had SAG permission to promote the film). A few red carpet reporters even got to break the news to the everyone.

Between watching the guys pal around on the red carpet last night and a press conference earlier today, we’re starting to think: The Iron Claw press tour might just kill us. Like, how are we supposed to watch Efron and White demonstrate wrestling techniques on each other and then just go on with our days?

While formal reviews of the film have been embargoed until a later date, critics who got an early peek have been able to share their reactions on social media, which been pretty darn enthusiastic so far. Take a look for yourself below:

The Iron Claw opens in theaters everywhere on December 22.

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