Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickinson step into the ring as the stars of A24's wrestling drama "The Iron Claw."
Harris Dickinson, Jeremy Allen White, and Zac Efron are ready to rumble. The three actors star in The Iron Claw, A24's highly anticipated wrestling drama about the legendary Von Erich brothers. The Von Erichs — including brothers Kevin (Efron), David (Dickinson), and Kerry (White) — built a wrestling empire in the 1970s and '80s, rising to international fame. But they also faced tragedy in and outside of the ring, sparking rumors of a family curse.
EW spoke with Efron, White, and Dickinson for a cover story on the film, where they opened up about their off-screen brotherly bond and how they trained to play expert wrestlers. Here, see all of EW's exclusive photos from our Iron Claw cover shoot.
"I was blown away on the first day that you guys came to work," Efron (center) says of entering wrestling training with Jeremy Allen White (left) and Harris Dickinson (right).
"It just doesn't seem like this could all happen to one family," Efron says of the Von Erichs' story.
"We have some pretty funny iPhone footage of us seeing our wrestling for the first time," Efron says, laughing.
"I was like, 'Oh, that's what it looks like,'" White says with a grimace. "'Got some work to do.'"
"Leading up to those wrestling sequences, that's probably when I was feeling most insecure," White says. "It takes such confidence and skill to walk into a ring like that and perform."
"I felt like I was complaining a lot throughout the process, but it did hurt!" Dickinson admits of perfecting the Von Erichs' signature wrestling move, the Iron Claw. "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!'"
"From the moment you come out, you're just doing heavy drops on the mat," Efron tells Harrison, his voice tinged with eldest brother pride, not unlike the Von Erich brother he plays in the film. "And your Claw is killer."
"I was just eating frozen turkey patties and avocados and protein shakes and waffles and almond butter," White says of his diet while training and filming.
"It was like an element of theater," Dickinson says of filming the wrestling scenes in front of a giant arena of extras. "When you've got an audience, it changes the way you throw yourself into it."
Getting the boot
"Jeremy, thankfully, had just done The Bear," Iron Claw costar Stanley Simons says of the culinary TV star. "So, we'd go to restaurants and [the employees] would be like, 'Oh my gosh, it's Jeremy!' and bring out a free dish. We were eating a lot."
Brawl in the family
Before filming, Efron, White, and Dickinson had never set foot in a wrestling ring — in fact, they knew little to none about the wrestling world at all. Director Sean Durkin recruited pro wrestler Chavo Guerrero Jr. to train the actors and serve as the film's official wrestling consultant.
Get'cha head in the ring
"I'm shocked they stayed on!" Efron says of the wigs worn during the wrestling scenes. "We put those things through hell!"
Brother in arms
"There's a huge element of the movie that's, of course, about wrestling and the showmanship aspect," says Efron. "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."
"The boys are all very still and quite stoic at times," Efron says of watching the real Von Erichs on screen. "But I think it's a bit of a defense mechanism they built up. They put these walls up to the outside world, in order to stay strong enough to persevere through everything they had to do. They had to be perfect all the time."
"Oh, I would jump in," White says now of getting the chance to wrestle professionally.
Down and dirty
"I would love to," Dickinson adds. "Do you remember at the end of the shoot? We were like, '…Should we try and do this for real?'"
"Only if all you guys were there," Efron concludes of entering the ring for real.
Read EW's full Iron Claw cover story with Dickinson, Efron, and White here.
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.