The High School Musical alum, 36, appeared with his costars Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Stanley Simons on the morning show on Wednesday, December 20. As Today anchor Craig Melvin began the segment, he said, “Zac Efron is a legitimate bonafide Hollywood superstar but that is not the reason he is in shades right now.”
Efron immediately apologized for being the only person wearing sunglasses.
“I’m sorry man,” Efron told Melvin. “I feel weird being in shades.”
“I just have a bit of an eye infection,” he continued. “But I really wanted to be here. It’s such a good movie, and I want to come see you guys and tell everyone about it.”
Efron did not elaborate on his eye infection.
The Iron Claw is a biographical sports drama about the Von Erich family dynasty of professional wrestlers from Texas. They dominated wrestling in the 1980s and became famous for the iron claw professional wrestling hold. Efron stars as former World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Kevin Von Erich.
“It was shocking at every point of the transformation,” he said . “I remember Harris 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?’”
“It ended up looking really good,” he added. “The hair and makeup team was epic.”
Portraying a wrestling champion inspired Efron to get in the best shape of his life.
“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.”
At The Iron Claw premiere earlier this month, White, 32, who portrays Kevin’s brother Kerry Von Erich, told Variety that Efron was definitely the leader of the cast, calling him the “captain of the ship” on set.
“He was a great motivator with his preparation physically, all the preparation he did emotionally and mentally,” White said. “I look up to that guy.”
White also joked that he was envious of Efron’s new buffed physique.
“He’s so annoying.” he added. “I had been training for months, lifting, doing this and doing that and eating more and I showed up and I saw him and I’m like, ‘What is this even for? Why do I even try?’”
The Iron Claw opens in theaters December 22.