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Zac Efron Opens Up About ‘Epic’ Transformation for ‘The Iron Claw’: ‘It Was Shocking’


Zac Efron has never shied away from a challenge for a role.

Efron, 36, opened up about transforming into Kevin Von Erich for his upcoming film, The Iron Claw, which premieres on Friday, December 22. “It was shocking at every point of the transformation,” he told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday, November 8. “I remember Harris [Dickinson] and I were walking out of hair and makeup and it was the first time we had to wear the full kit, and we were both thinking, ‘What the hell are we doing here, man? How did we get into this?’”

He continued, explaining, “It ended up looking really good … The hair and makeup team was epic.”

In addition to giving the hair and makeup departments their props, Efron shared his new workout routine to portray the famous wrestler. Von Erich, 66, “really motivated me to get in shape for this movie,” Efron said.

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“The physicality he brought to the ring every single day was really unique. It changed wrestling,” he continued. “I knew that was going to be the hardest [thing] for me to master and get right. So, I put everything I had into it.”

This isn’t the first time Efron changed his appearance for a role. In 2017, he maintained a strict diet and workout routine for the movie Baywatch. Efron later opened up about how “burned out” he felt preparing for the role.

“I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression for a long time,” he told Men’s Health in October 2022. “Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering.”

Retired American Professional Wrestler, Kevin Von Erich and Actor Zac Efron.Omar Vega/Getty Images

Later, Efron discovered the diuretics he was taking to reduce liquids in his body were to blame. “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.”

Six months after filming wrapped, he started to feel like himself again.

During his red carpet appearance on Wednesday, Efron was asked about his late 17 Again costar Matthew Perry. He told Extra that he would be “honored” to play Perry, who died last month, in a biopic.

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“I’m still devastated by the fact that he is gone,” Efron said, noting, “It would be extraordinary to [play Perry.]”

Following Perry’s sudden death in October, his friend Athenna Crosby told ET Canada that Perry wanted Efron to play a younger version of him in a film.

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