The Iron Claw: Where Was Zac Efron’s Movie Filmed?

Based on real-life events, ‘The Iron Claw’ is a biographical sports drama movie about wrestling in the early 1980s, focusing on the legendary professional wrestler Kevin Von Erich and the Von Erich family. The inseparable Von Erich brothers make a name for themselves in the ring, popularizing the iron claw professional wrestling hold. Apart from the battles that they fight inside the ring, the brothers also have to fight off the alleged Von Erich curse outside the ring.

Going through some personal tragedies of their own, each brother has high ambitions to become a legend and obtain an immortal status for themselves on the biggest stage in sports, with their domineering father and coach watching over from the sidelines. Written and helmed by Sean Durkin, the wrestling film features Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, and Stanley Simons, who trained hard and transformed their respective bodies for their role as the Von Erich brothers. Whether it is the setting of the early 1980s or the Dallas Sportatorium where the wrestling matches take place, ‘The Iron Claw’ raises questions about the filming locations in many viewers’ minds.

The Iron Claw Was Filmed in Louisiana

‘The Iron Claw’ was filmed primarily in a couple of cities of Louisiana — Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The principal photography for the biopic got underway in October 2022 and lasted for about six weeks, before getting wrapped up around mid-December of the same year. Months before the production commenced, the four lead actors went into training in the ring and began preparing for the movie under the guidance of Chavo Guerrero Jr., a retired professional wrestler from El Paso. So, let us take you back into the era of the Von Erich brothers and give you a detailed account of all the specific sites that were transformed to match the setting of the movie.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Even though the story mostly unfolds in Texas, the filming unit of ‘The Iron Claw’ set up camp in the capital city of Louisiana — Baton Rouge. During the production process, the cast and crew members of ‘The Iron Claw’ were supposedly spotted in multiple streets and neighborhoods of Baton Rouge. While the makers could have filmed the wrestling scenes in multiple edited sequences, they chose to make it more true-to-life, owing to the authenticity of the narrative. They reportedly utilized the interior of an old furniture store on Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge and transformed it into a makeshift wrestling arena, specifically the Dallas Sportatorium, where the cast members performed full-length wrestling matches against one another in front of a live audience.

As for the real arena, it was a barn-like arena used for professional wrestling events with a seating capacity of about 4,500. However, it closed about two decades ago, which is why the director and his team decided to reconstruct a practical replica of the place, interior as well as exterior, where a significant portion of the shooting occurred. When asked about day one of working with the cast members, Guerrero Jr. and Durkin told Vanity Fair that instead of working on the script, they just got into the ring and worked on respecting it. Durkin said, “I didn’t know how hard the ropes were. Bouncing off the ropes looks easy. I got in there, and I was like, ‘Ow.'”

Durkin further elaborated, “You’re never really ready, right? We were fine-tuning as we were shooting. It was constantly evolving. They’d learn a new movie on the day (of shooting it). Also, we’re shooting on a crazy schedule. We’re shooting huge sequences in a day that should probably be done in three days.” Apart from ‘The Iron Claw,’ the city of Baton Rouge has hosted the production of many sports dramas over the years. Some of the notable ones include ‘Glory Road,’ ‘Heart of Champions,’ ‘Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown,’ ‘Everybody’s All-American,’ and ‘On Angel’s Wings.’

New Orleans, Louisiana

Shooting for ‘The Iron Claw’ was also carried out in the consolidated city-parish of New Orleans, which is situated along the Mississippi River. Given the presence of numerous National Historic Districts across the city, NOLA acts like one big film set, making it an ideal production location for different kinds of projects. Moreover, its subtropical climate offers unique and scenic lighting conditions for filmmaking. In the backdrop, you are likely to spot several local landmarks and places of interest, such as Bourbon Street, St. Louis Cathedral, Crescent City Connection, and the Central Business District.

Read More: The Iron Claw: The True Story of the Von Erich Family, Explained