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‘It Meant The World’: Jeremy Allen White Opens Up About The Von Erich Family’s Reaction To His Wrestling Biopic The Iron Claw

Jeremy Allen White’s star keeps rising, and after starring in the FX hit show The Bear, he’s become a household name. Now he is acting alongside Zac Efron in The Iron Claw, a biopic about the Von Erich wrestling family, which faced a number of tragedies during their 1980s dynasty. The family was consulted throughout the film, and according to White, this was incredibly meaningful as he took on a challenging performance.

White appeared as a guest onJimmy Kimmel Live!and opened up about his rise to fame after The Bear became a hit, as well as The Iron Claw. While a number of members of the Von Erich family have since passed, the surviving members were supportive about the new film, and the actor talked about how special it was to meet members of the family at the center of their story. He said:

Kevin Von Erich is still with us, and then that’s the character that Zac plays. And Kevin was with us in Dallas when we screened the film for the first time. And Kerry – my character’s daughters were there. So it was the first time I met Kevin and the first time I met Kerry’s daughters. And they were so supportive, and they really want to get out in front of this film. And it meant the world, because I had never played a real person before, and their story is so sensitive, and we wanted to honor them and do their story justice. So the fact that they even wanted to share space with us after seeing the film meant a lot.

White has been candid about how intimidating he found playing a real person to be, especially as people who were closest to Kerry Von Erich are still alive today. While the physical transformation White experienced in order to play the character was certainly an undertaking, it was the responsibility to the family to get the story right that was the most daunting for the Shameless alum. Their continued support after seeing The Iron Claw is definitely a compliment, indicating they were satisfied with how their family was portrayed on the big screen. 

Along with the acting itself, a lot of other elements went into getting the character of Kerry Von Erich right. White was tasked with getting into incredible shape for the character, which was even more difficult considering his co-star, Zac Efron, got into great shape himself, and White had to make sure he was able to realistically wrestle the Neighbors actor. In addition to bulking up, White told Kimmel that he also was tasked with performing some of the dangerous wrestling stunts himself. They even used classic ’80s equipment to make the movie even more authentic. You can see him talk more about the role below: 

The Von Erich family’s support for the film is also especially significant, as the history of the Von Erichs is famously complicated. A number of members of the family died tragically, and Fritz Von Erich, the family patriarch, had controversial wrestling training methods that brought the overall mental health of the family into question. These controversies, as well as the competitive family dynamic are all subjects that are set to be explored in The Iron Claw. Early reactions of the wrestling biopic tease an intense character study, as well as dedicated performances from Efron and White. 

You can see Jeremy Allen White in The Iron Claw, which is set to hit theaters on December 22nd. For more information on other projects heading to cinemas later this year, make sure to consult our 2023 movie release schedule. Fans can also revisit White’s Golden Globe winning performance in The Bear, which is streaming with a Hulu subscription.

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