IF IN 2022, you came across that photo of Zac Efron sporting naught but a blue towel slung low on his hips, revealing a physique that cannot be described as anything other than ‘beefy’, and topping it off with a questionable, Lord Farquaad-esque haircut — you might have been a little confused. But the actor is in his beefcake era for a reason: He’s starring in the upcoming A24 flick The Iron Claw, and he’s brought hot chef Jeremy Allen White along for the super-swole ride.

The film, which is written and directed by Sean Durkin, focuses on the true and tragic story of the Von Erich family, who ruled the professional wrestling ring in the ’80s (hence all the tiny shorts, denim, and tank tops).

Read on for everything we know about the film so far — from its cast to its plot, and the true story that inspires it.

Is there a trailer for The Iron Claw?

There is. And it’s only just been released. The first official trailer for The Iron Claw provides a look into the ins and outs of Fritz Von Erich’s insatiable quest to raise a family of champions, the family’s meteoric rise rise on the pro wrestling circuit, and their inevitable downfall.

See the full trailer below.

What will The Iron Claw be about?

According to the official logline from A24, The Iron Claw is “the true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s”.

“Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports.”

We don’t have many details as yet to the plot of the film — other than knowing that it begins in the ’60s and plays through to the present day — but from the brief glimpses we’ve been granted, we can definitely expect beefed-up stars, rivalries and feuds, adrenaline-pumping fight scenes, and plenty of teeny tiny ’80s shorts.

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What is The Iron Claw based on?

The Iron Claw is based on the true story of the Von Erichs, a group of inseparable brothers who dominated the professional wrestling industry in the 1980s. The Texan family’s real surname is Adkisson, but the family patriarch Fritz Von Erich, born Jack Adkisson, first took on the ring name as part of his wrestling gimmick — he originally portrayed a Nazi heel (a ‘heel’ being the bad guy of the ring, for the uninitiated).

Fritz had six sons: Jack Jr., Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris. Jack Jr. tragically died at the age of six, but the remaining five brothers all took up the Von Erich ring name when they joined the family wrestling legacy.

While there’s triumphs to be told in the Von Erich story, there’s also plenty of tragedy. We won’t give away any spoilers here, but there’s a reason that the term “Von Erich curse” exists — and it’s not a happy one.

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Who stars in The Iron Claw?

Starring front and centre as Kevin Von Erich is Zac Efron, who is no stranger to shaping up for a role. For 2017’s Baywatch, he underwent an intense body transformation that he ultimately seemed to regret. “That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake; it looks CGI’d,” he told Men’s Health. It took him six months to recover from the aftereffects too, he added, noting that he developed insomnia and “fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time” — before his stint of living in Australia when he was finally able to fully re-centre himself.

Joining Efron in his beefcake era is The Bear‘s resident dirtbag chef, Jeremy Allen White. White plays Kerry Von Erich, and told Esquire in May that his body prep for the role essentially consisted of “eating all the time”. “In the morning, I would have waffles, almond butter. In the middle of the day, I was eating turkey patties and avocado all the time. It’s really just gross. You’re trying to consume as much as you possibly can, and, to be honest, you don’t feel great. I was training as well, but, I don’t know, trying to get that big, it’s no way to live,” he admitted.

Triangle of Sadness star Harris Dickinson also stars as David Von Erich, Mindhunter‘s Holt McCallany stars as patriarch Fritz Von Erich, The Affair‘s Maura Tierney is matriarch Doris Adkisson, and Pam & Tommy‘s Lily James is Kevin’s wife Pam.

Related: Jeremy Allen White and the lure of the revenge body

When will The Iron Claw come out in Australia?

The Iron Claw is set to hit cinemas on December 22nd, 2023, in the United States, before coming to Australia just under a month later on January 18th, 2024.

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