‘The Iron Claw’ Test Screening Reaction Praises Performances of the Lead

Image Credit: Eric Chakeen/A24

Directed by Sean Durkin, A24’s biographical film ‘The Iron Claw’ revolves around the famed Von Erich family, a professional wrestling family originally based in Texas. The movie mainly follows Kevin Von Erich’s attempts to become a well-regarded wrestler. After a recent test screening, a viewer who attended the same praised the performances of the lead cast members, who include Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Lily James, Maura Tierney, etc.

However, some of the test screening viewers weren’t satisfied with the performances of Holt McCallany and Aaron Dean Eisenberg. McCallany, who is known for playing Bill Tench in ‘Mindhunter,’ Lieutenant Brannigan in ‘61st Street,’ Warden Jaegger Fount in ‘Foundation,’ and Anderson in ‘Nightmare Alley,’ plays the Von Erich patriarch Fritz Von Erich. Eisenberg (‘The Deuce’) plays WWE icon Ric Flair. As per reports, the actor’s attempts to emulate the wrestler’s promotional style drew laughter from the viewers.

The test screening also confirmed the major cameos in the film. AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman plays Lance Von Erich in a minor role. AEW’s Ryan Nemeth plays the late professional wrestler Gino Hernandez, who was a major figure in the Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling. Former WWE superstar Chavo Guerrero Jr. portrays the late professional wrestler Edward “The Shake” Farhat.

In addition, test screening revealed the major plot developments in the biographical drama. The film will focus on Kevin’s preparations for the 1980 Olympics, the formation of the Von Erichs’ team, Kevin and Pam’s relationship, the shocking deaths of Kevin’s brothers, and the protagonist’s sons Marshall and Ross deciding to follow in the footsteps of their father. The movie will be released nationwide on December 22, 2023, likely without any participation in film festivals.

Efron, who is known for playing Troy Bolton in the ‘High School Musical’ trilogy, plays Kevin. The actor is also known for his performances as Link Larkin in ‘Hairspray’ and Mike O’Donnell in ‘17 Again.’ He portrays the wrestler in the film after playing Chickie Donohue in ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever,’ Andy McGee in ‘Firestarter,’ Man One in ‘Gold,’ Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,’ etc.

White plays Kevin’s brother Kerry Von Erich after gaining 40 pounds for the role. The film will be White’s first major release after the success of his FX on Hulu comedy-drama ‘The Bear,’ in which he plays the protagonist Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto. The actor was nominated for a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy for his performance. His other major credits include Lip Gallagher in ‘Shameless,’ Josh in ‘The Rental,’ Elliot in ‘After Everything,’ etc. Dickinson, known for his performances as Frankie in ‘Beach Rats,’ Carl in ‘Triangle of Sadness,’ and Chase Andrews in ‘Where the Crawdads Sing,’ plays Kevin and Kerry’s brother David Von Erich.

Lily James, who plays the titular character in ‘Cinderella,’ Elizabeth Bennet in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ and Debora in ‘Baby Driver,’ plays Kevin’s wife Pam. The actress’ recent credits include Pamela Anderson in ‘Pam & Tommy,’ Zoe Stevenson in ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’ Mrs. de Winter in ‘Rebecca,’ Ellie Appleton in ‘Yesterday,’ etc. Maura Tierney, who plays Abby Lockhart in ‘ER,’ Grace Poe in ‘American Rust,’ and Fiona McKee in ‘Your Honor,’ plays Kevin, Kerry, and David’s mother Doris Von Erich.

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