The Iron Claw: Everything We Know So Far About Zac Efron's Wrestling Movie

If you're a wrestling fan, you may know the story of Fritz Von Erich, 23-time world champion, and the sad history of his family. Von Erich was a pro-wrestler whose real name is Jack Barton Adkisson Sr. He played a German heel in the ring early in his career, and had a terribly tragic personal life. A24 is doing a film based on the story called "The Iron Claw." It is written and directed by Sean Durkin ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), and will star Zac Efron ("The Greatest Showman," "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile"). 

The title "The Iron Claw" comes from the nickname that Von Erich Sr. had during his time as a wrestler. In the beginning of his career, he was portrayed as a Prussian Nazi type. Though that was a character, and it dissipated as his career moved forward, some people have woven this into a sort of urban legend about his family "curse." 

What we think The Iron Claw will be about

While there isn't a whole lot of information about the film itself, we do have a logline:

Based on a true story, the film follows the rise and fall of the Von Erich family, a dynasty of wrestlers who made a huge impact on the sport from the 1960s to the present day.

The description doesn't mention this, but part of that fall is the fact that Von Erich had six sons, five of whom became wrestlers themselves. The youngest died at the age of six after being accidentally shocked and drowned. Another died of acute enteritis. Three of his sons died of suicide. Kevin Von Erich is the only one of his sons still living at the time of this writing. 

Von Erich's career began in football in the 1950s, until he changed his trajectory. He was trained by Stu Hart, and became a star over the years, in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). He held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for a time during the 1960s. He also served as NWA President, and the WCCW President. He was known as Tetsu no Tsume ("The Iron Claw") in Japan where he had a big impact on the sport.

It isn't clear how much of the film will concentrate on the tragic circumstances of Von Erich's life, and how much will be on how his family was a part of the world of wrestling, but either way, the story is fascinating, if terribly sad. We also don't know if the "curse" angle will be in there at all, though it would be surprising if it isn't mentioned at some point. 

What we know about the cast and crew of The Iron Claw

The only casting information as of this writing is that Zac Efron will be in the film. What we don't know is if he'll play one of the Von Erich family. As /Film's own BJ Colangelo (who is a big wrestling fan) points out, if he does play a Von Erich, it will require some serious body changes. For instance, Fritz Von Erich was 6'4" and very big, while Efron doesn't exactly give the impression of a man that size. 

That said, Deadline released an update regarding casting for the project on August 22, stating that "Where The Crawdads Sing" star Harris Dickinson was joining the project as David Von Erich. They also confirmed that Efron would play Kevin Von Erich. 

Writer/director Sean Durkin wrote and directed the acclaimed film "Martha Marcy May Marlene." He won Best Director at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for the project. His "The Nest" nabbed six British Independent Film Award nominations, and received Best Actor (Jude Law) and Best Actress (Carrie Coon) nominations at the IFP Gotham Awards. 

The film comes to us from A24, with Tessa Ross, Derrin Schlesinger, and Harrison Huffman set to produce. The film was developed by House Productions, with support coming from Access Entertainment and BBC Film. 

There is no current release date for the film, but we'll keep you updated as information becomes available. 

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