Why Zac Efron’s New Body For ‘The Iron Claw’ Needs A Disclaimer

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Shirtless pics of Zac Efron have once again caught people’s eye. The snaps are from the set for A24’s latest production and have been circulating online, with some users comparing him to sexy Ned Flanders and short king Lord Farquaad.

And official promo pic came from A24 where they introduced Efron as the wrestler Kevin Von Erich for their upcoming movie The Iron Claw.

Kevin Von Erich himself even commented on the pics, saying “I didn’t ever look that good. He looked great though, he must be working really hard”. 

Regardless of who Efron ended up resembling the most, it’s safe to say that the actor has clearly bulked up for the role. While he’s certainly not the first actor to do so, it raises an interesting conversation around significant body transformations for particular roles and what it means for setting unrealistic body standards.

So Why Did Zac Efron Bulk Up So Much?

In the upcoming A24 flick, Zac Efron is playing wrestling legend Kevin Von Erich AKA The Golden Warrior. For the uninitiated, the Von Erich family is basically wrestling royalty. 

The family patriarch Fritz Von Erich was one of the best wrestlers in the 60s and 70s and became known for his powerful finishing manoeuvre called ‘the Iron Claw’. His real name is Jack Adkisson, by the way, but the whole family took on the Von Erich surname to match their wrestling personas.

The Von Erich family is also riddled with tragedy. Of the six Von Erich sons, five of them passed away between the ages of 6 and 33. Kevin is actually the only surviving brother.

From what we know so far, the A24 film will focus on three of the brothers who made a name for themselves in the wrestling ring: Kevin, played by Zac Efron; David, played by Harris Dickinson; and Kerry, played by Jeremy Allen White.

Zac Efron Has Spoken About Body Transformations Before

This isn’t the first time Zac Efron has made a pretty drastic body transformation for a role. For 2017’s Baywatch, a franchise known for its iconic red swimsuit and slow mo beach runs, Efron understood the assignment and committed to the beach bod aesthetic.

But back in September, Efron revealed that his Baywatch body transformation actually led to him suffering from insomnia and depression. He even said that he didn’t know if look was really attainable and that it required powerful diuretics to achieve, which is essentially a substance that makes you pee a lot to get rid of water.

Drastic Transformations Aren’t Uncommon In Hollywood

And Efron isn’t alone in speaking out about the cost of dramatic body transformations for roles. 

Henry Cavill’s highly anticipated bathtub scene in Season 1 of The Witcher was shot specifically after he had been dehydrating for a few days. 

Hugh Jackman explained a similar process for his role as Wolverine in Logan.

Talking openly about how unrealistic and temporary these body standards are is a really crucial part of the conversation because it allows viewers to get a glimpse of the realities behind the scenes. But whether there will be any real industry change to ensure that actors do it safely remains to be seen.