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First Look At The Iron Claw Shows An Unrecognizable Zac Efron In Mid-Air

Plenty of actors have portrayed professional wrestlers in movies and TV shows, without having previous experience as professional wrestlers. In 1978, Henry Winkler played Gorgeous George in "The One and Only." In 2000, Oliver Platt portrayed Jimmy King in "Ready to Rumble." In 2008, Mickey Rourke stepped into the ring as Randy "The Ram" Robinson" in "The Wrestler." And in 2019, Florence Pugh was Saraya Knight in "Fighting with My Family." We can also include Jack Black as Nacho in 2006's "Nacho Libre," as well as the cast of "Glow."

Obviously, playing a pro wrestler is an acting challenge. Often it requires a substantial bodily transformation, as well as lots of difficult stunts. The latest actor to attempt the feat is Zac Efron, who's playing Kevin Von Erich in the upcoming wrestling drama "The Iron Claw." Overall, the film tells the story of the influential Von Erich family, who have made a lasting impact on professional wrestling from the 1960's to today. The narrative primarily follows Kevin as well as his two brothers, Kerry (Jeremy Allen White) and David (Harris Dickinson). It's being produced by A24, and it's directed by Sean Durkin, who's best known for the 2011 psychological thriller "Martha Marcy May Marlene."

Efron once again put on muscle for the role, which is a bit of a surprise considering Efron's negative experience filming "Baywatch." Today, A24 gave a first look of Efron's physical transformation, and it's quite a shock.

Zac Efron approached bulking up differently for Iron Claw than he did for Baywatch

A24 shared the photo on Twitter, with the caption: "Introducing the Golden Warrior himself. Zac Efron is Kevin Von Erich in #TheIronClaw."

As Efron explained in the October 2022 issue of Men's Health, while he did bulk up to play Kevin Von Erich, he approached the process much differently than he did "Baywatch." "That Baywatch look, I don't know if that's really attainable," Efron said. "There's just too little water in the skin. Like, it's fake; it looks CGI'd. And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don't need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat."

Not only was training for "Baywatch" difficult, it also gave him health problems including insomnia and depression–the result of using too many diuretics. When filming was over, it took Efron six months to feel like himself again.

Efron hasn't gone into detail yet on how he trained for "Iron Claw," but one person who is impressed is Kevin Von Erich. "I didn't ever look that good. He looked great though, he must be working really hard," Von Erich told TMZ (Von Erich isn't involved with the film).

Per Variety, "The Iron Claw" will premiere sometime in 2023.