Zac Efron is opening up about an unexpected challenge he faced while playing a pro wrestler in “The Iron Claw” — an utter lack of clothes.
In an interview published Wednesday with U.K. outlet Metro, Efron, 36, said it was “jarring” having to spend much of his time on set hanging out in nothing but his undies.
“One of the jarring moments that I wasn’t expecting was when the wrestling stops, or there’s a cut, or in between setups or takes – you’ve just got to stand there with a whole crowd around, in your underwear,” he said. “And there’s nothing really going on.”
Efron, who portrays pro wrestler Kevin Von Erich in the movie, added, “That’s a different kind of feeling. I’ve never experienced that one before.”
The sports saga follows the tragic real-life story of legendary patriarch Fritz Von Erich and his sons, who made history in the world of wrestling in the 1970s and ’80s. The family was plagued with unexpected traumas and deaths that many attributed to the rumored “Von Erich Curse.”
Efron laughed while he detailed how he second-guessed himself over the uncomfortable filming requirement.
“You just kind of gotta … like, where do you put your hands? On your hips? You can’t help – there are people everywhere, you can’t look up and have somebody not looking back at you. So that was a bit unnatural,” Efron explained.
The biopic wasn’t Efron’s first time showing skin on screen (à la 2016’s “Dirty Grandpa”), and he said that he eventually got over the initial awkwardness of walking around in tiny trunks.
“You get used to” the feeling, he said, adding, “It was all very uncomfortable, but I think so is everything great when you’re learning it.”
Late last year, the former Disney star got candid about another awkward part of his physical transformation for the gig.
“In the best way possible, I did not look anything like me. It was jarring at first, but we kind of put it together piece by piece,” Efron, who gained a whopping 15 pounds of muscle and donned a distinctive wig for the role, told The Hollywood Reporter in December.
“Individually, the wig by itself looks kind of ridiculous; by themselves, the clothes look pretty crazy,” he said. “When you put them all together in the sets that our team built and get out there in the ring under those lights, it looks like the Von Erichs, man, and that’s was our goal. I think it added a lot to it.”
A24’s “The Iron Claw,” which also stars Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Stanley Simons, and Holt McCallany, is in theaters now.