‘The Iron Claw’ cast talk in-ring training, Von Erich legacy

The cast of The Iron Claw seemed to enjoy mixing it up in a pro wrestling ring during filming of the upcoming movie. 

Zac Efron (Kevin Von Erich), Harris Dickinson (David Von Erich), and Jeremy Allen White (Kerry Von Erich) spoke with EW about the in-ring work they did during filming of the movie, which hits theaters on December 22. Chavo Guerrero Jr. was brought in to train them and also portrays The Sheik in the film.  

"I was blown away on the first day that you guys came to work," Efron said to his co-stars. "You were jumping off ropes and doing huge hits."

"We had some time [training] in L.A.," White said. "But I don't know, Zac, I never saw you not good at anything."

"I felt like I was complaining a lot throughout the process, but it did hurt!" Dickinson said. "It's harder when you can't squeeze someone's head for real, so you have to create the idea that you are inflicting pain with just the squeeze of your hand and the shake. After a while, your forearms are cramping up, and you feel silly, like 'My arm! I can't do this anymore!'"

Efron continued to give his thoughts on what the story of the Von Erichs is at its very core. 

"It just doesn't seem like this could all happen to one family," he said. "There's a huge element of the movie that's, of course, about wrestling and the showmanship aspect. But really, at its core, this movie's an incredible story about family, love, loss, and ultimately the triumph of a man who tries to break the cycle of this crazy curse."

"It's like a Greek tragedy or a Shakespearean tale," Dickinson added. "And it's all true."

Sean Durkin directed the film and also wrote the script. He grew up a wrestling fan during the 80s and 90s in England and recalled learning of Kerry Von Erich's death from a wrestling magazine in 1993. 

"I still remember that night," Durkin said. "I remember how I felt, and how I'd heard that the other brothers had died. It just really hit me."

Durkin has become close with Kevin Von Erich since he began researching the film in 2015. Kevin was not involved in the making of the movie, however. 

The famed Sportatorium in Dallas was re-created at an old furniture showroom near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Matches were filmed from start to finish with the camera running as opposed to filming short sequences or individual moves. Extras were brought in to serve as the crowd, something the three actors say added to the atmosphere. 

"Those background performers made me feel like I belonged there," White said. "Leading up to those wrestling sequences, that's probably when I was feeling most insecure. It takes such confidence and skill to walk into a ring like that and perform."

"The crowd was an element that I did not predict," Efron added.

"It was like an element of theater," Dickinson said. "When you've got an audience, it changes the way you throw yourself into it." 

As for if they would ever get in a wrestling ring "for real," the actors seemed enthusiastic about the idea. 

"Oh, I would jump in," White answered.

"I would love to," Dickinson said. "Do you remember at the end of the shoot? We were like, 'Should we try and do this for real?'"

"We went to Sean and were like, 'Sean, call them! Tell them we're ready!'" White added.

"Yeah, call WWE!" Efron said. "Say we're going to do it!"

Kevin's son Marshall Von Erich recently posted to X regarding the film:

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