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The Iron Claw: Zac Efron stars in new film about the ‘cursed’ Von Erich family

“Ever since I was a child, people said my family was cursed. Mom tried to protect us with God... Pop tried to protect us with wrestling...” says Zac Efron as the trailer to The Iron Claw opens.

Oiled, buff, tanned, and sporting a long bob, he is playing Kevin, one of the sons from the celebrated Von Erich wrestling family. He’s the focus of Sean Durkin’s upcoming dramatisation The Iron Claw.

In the trailer, which is out now, we see Kevin and his brothers David (Harris Dickinson), Kerry (Jeremy Allen White), Mike (Stanley Simons) being strictly coached by their father Fritz (Holt McCallany). Fritz is not an easy man by any means, but his tactics are effective: all of his sons are professional wrestlers who fight at his Texas-based promotion, World Class Championship Wrestling.

The A24 film, which has been directed by Candian director Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Nest) will unpack one of American wrestling’s most heartbreaking and fascinating stories: the film will drill down into the story of the famous Von Erich family, a three-generation dynasty of wrestlers who achieved massive success, but who suffered a series of unbelievable losses in the process. Out of Fritz’s six sons, Kevin is the only one to outlive him.

 (The Iron Claw, Official Trailer HD, A24)
(The Iron Claw, Official Trailer HD, A24)

And the film follows the family’s rollercoaster story, focusing on Kevin, Fritz’s second oldest son. In the trailer we see him meet his future wife, Pam Adkisson (Lily James), train with his brothers, wrestle and win big. We also see a glimpse of the looming tragedies.

“For those who are not old school wrestling fans. This is going to hit hard. And for those who know... at least it looks like it will do the incredible story some justice,” commented one fan on the trailer.

“As a Texan and as a wrestling fan, this may be the greatest thing ever given to us in a motion picture,” said another.

Wrestler Fritz and his wife Doris (Maura Tierney) had six sons between 1952 and 1969, five of whom died before they were 34. The family’s unbelievable misfortune has resulted in the term the ‘Von Erich curse’ being used in conversation in the States to mean a devastating chain of events.

Efron has recently starred in The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) and has been hosting the travel series Down to Earth with Zac Efron. Meanwhile Allen White became a household name, and an internet heartthrob, this year after starring in the highly-acclaimed Disney+ kitchen drama, The Bear.

The UK release date of The Iron Claw is still tbc