‘The Iron Claw’ — Everything We Know so Far About the Zac Efron Drama

Stepping into the ring is one very buff, very agile, jort-wearing, Zac Efron. Ever the chameleon, he’s continuously reinvented himself in new roles throughout the past year as he’s walked through horror films and epic war dramas and found himself sweaty and bloody on springboards in the upcoming wrestling biopic, The Iron Claw. Covering the triumphant and tragic story of the Von Erich wrestling family, they’ve had a long-lasting dynasty within the ring that is ongoing today. Led by the patriarch of the family, wrestler Fritz Von Erich, five of his six sons followed in his footsteps and became wrestlers, but the toll the sport and fame took resulted in the death of four sons. Their life outside wrestling became just as famous as their professional lives, and The Iron Claw will focus on what many have referred to as the “Von Erich Curse,” in addition to focusing on the family’s groundbreaking contributions to wrestling. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming movie, from the plot, cast, release date, and more.


Editor’s Note: This piece was updated on October 11, 2023.

Related:Best Zac Efron Movies, From ‘The Greatest Showman’ to ‘The Paperboy’


When Does ‘The Iron Claw’ Come Out?

The teaser poster for The Iron Claw
Image via A24

The Iron Claw has been scheduled to hit theaters on December 22, 2023. This means that the film will be opening up against a crowded week that already includes movies such as Illumination’s Migration, the DC superhero sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the musical remake of The Color Purple, George Clooney‘s The Boys in the Boat, and Michael Mann‘s long-awaited Ferrari.

Where Will ‘The Iron Claw’ Be Available to Stream?

As of right now, we don’t know where The Iron Claw will eventually end up streaming. Recent A24 films such as The Whale and The Inspection are available to stream on Paramount+ with Showtime and that could be the case with this film as well.

Is There a Trailer for ‘The Iron Claw’?

A trailer for The Iron Claw was released by A24 on October 11, 2023. Set to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” the trailer begins relatively upbeat, showing the Von Erichs’ family dynamic, before segueing into a much more somber tone as the family is faced with an unspeakable tragedy.

What Is ‘The Iron Claw’ About?

Zac Efron in The Iron Claw
Image Via A24

The Iron Claw will tell the tragic true story behind the Von Erich wrestling family and the unfortunate “Von Erich” curse that haunted outside the ring. The film will largely revolve around Kevin Von Erich’s story, who was the second-oldest Von Erich son (the oldest, Jack Adkisson Jr, was killed in a freak accident at age six), and the only surviving son of Fritz and Doris Von Erich.

The official synopsis for the film, from A24 reads:

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.

Who’s Starring in ‘The Iron Claw’?

iron-claw-social-featured
Image via A24

The ensemble cast of The Iron Claw includes Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman) as Kevin Von Erich, Jeremy Allen White (The Bear) as Kerry Von Erich, Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness) as David Von Erich, relative newcomer Stanley Simons as Mike Von Erich, Maura Tierney (The Affair) as Doris Von Erich, Holt McCallany (Mindhunter) as Fritz Von Erich, Lily James (Baby Driver) as Pam Adkisson, Aaron Dean Eisenberg (The Deuce) as Ric Flair, Kevin Anton (Dead Ringers) as Harley Race, and Cazzey Louis Cereghino (Grimm) as Bruiser Brody.

Several AEW pro-wrestlers will be part of the cast including current World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman as Lance Von Erich, Brady Pierce as Michael Hayes, Chavo Guerrero Jr as The Sheik, and Ryan Nemeth as Gino Hernandez.

Who Is the Creative Team Behind’ The Iron Claw’?

Sean Durkin on set of movie
Image via IFC Films

The Iron Claw is written and directed by Sean Durkin. Known for his sparse, dark dramas, his breakthrough film came as the writer and director of the 2011 psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene starring Elizabeth Olsen. He went on to write and direct the 2020 family drama The Nest starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon which dives into the complex relationship between siblings, like The Iron Claw. An A24 film, The Iron Claw is produced by Tessa Ross (Room), Derrin Schlesinger (Babylon), Juliette Howell (The Wonder), and Angus Lamont (The Girl with All the Gifts).

What Is the History Behind ‘The Iron Claw’?

Zac Efron as Kevin Von Erich, holding a wrestling belt, in The Iron Claw
Image via A24

The Iron Claw focuses on the Von Erich dynasty within the wrestling world throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, specifically covering the rise and fall of brothers Kevin, David, and Kerry Von Erich. Coached by their father and fellow former wrestler, Fritz Von Erich, the family became plagued by death and tragedy as five of the six sons died premature deaths. As previously stated, Efron is heading the cast as the only living son of Fritz today, Kevin, with Jeremy Allen White co-starring as Kerry Von Erich and Harris Dickinson playing David Von Erich. All three brothers proved to be a force to be reckoned with inside the ring and had many famous rivalries, including with wrestling icon Ric Flair, and the famous Von Erich feud against the Fabulous Freebird wrestling team.

Traveling outside the ring, writer and director Sean Durkin is diving into the shared belief among fans of the “Von Erich curse,” and the tumultuous relationship between the famous brothers. Five out of the six Von Erich Siblings died premature deaths, leading to a myth that the family had a curse placed upon them. Also featuring the tragic stories of the family’s younger brothers and fellow wrestlers, Mike and Chris Von Erich, the film will focus on how their father, Fritz, created a long-lasting dynasty that helped move the wrestling world forward. But, there was also immense pressure from Fritz, fatigue from fighting, and fame, which resulted in the suicide of three sons and one from illness, leading to the long-lasting myth that the family had a curse placed upon them.

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