The Iron Claw Star Zac Efron Suffered Depression After Filming on The Rock’s Baywatch Movie


  • Zac Efron’s role in Baywatch took a toll on his mental and physical health, leading to insomnia and depression.
  • Efron’s latest film, The Iron Claw, showcases his impressive physical transformation and is generating Oscar buzz.
  • Despite tough competition, Efron deserves recognition for his work in The Iron Claw and his successful career in cinema.

Zac Efron was one of the great young stars of Hollywood in the early 00s, but some of his roles left dark and disturbing marks on his personal life, such as his participation in 2017’s Baywatch.


Release Date
May 12, 2017



After starring in the Disney Channel hit High School Musical in 2006, Efron’s career took off, and he continued to showcase his acting skills in projects like Hairspray and 17 Again, taking advantage of his soaring popularity. In 2017, he joined Dwayne Johnson and a great cast of popular actors in Baywatch, a film based on the successful series that originally debuted in 1989 and ran for 11 seasons.

Baywatch did not particularly fare well, gaining only a 17% Rotten Tomaotes score, but certainly did not do any harm to Efron’s career. However, behind the scenes was a very different story, and working on the movie saw the actor entering a very difficult period in his life. Speaking previously to Men’s Health, the actor recalled how his rigorous workout routine for Baywatch affected his mental and physical health:

“That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. 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. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat. I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering. Ultimately they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up.”

Related: The Iron Claw: Here’s Why the Youngest Von Erich Brother Isn’t Included in the A24 Movie

Could Zac Efron Enter the Best Actor Oscar Race?

Zac Efron holds a champion wrestling belt in The Iron Claw

Efron may have had to train hard for his role in Baywatch, but it doesn’t compare to the actor’s physical transformation for his latest film, The Iron Claw. Sean Durkin’s movie tells the story of the Von Erich clan, one of the most famous and legendary families in the world of wrestling, surrounded by tragic deaths. Efron plays Kevin, the only surviving child in the family, in a moving and truly emotional performance, which has generated many rumors about a possible nomination at the next Academy Awards ceremony.

Of course, the competition in the Best Actor category will be as brutal as some of The Iron Claw‘s fight scenes, with actors like Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer, Joaquin Phoenix for Napoleon and Bradley Cooper for Maestro being the great candidates to win the statuette.

But the High School Musical star undoubtedly deserves the same recognition for his work in The Iron Claw, and his successful career in the world of cinema, which also includes other notable projects such as The Greatest Showman and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, where he played killer Ted Bundy.

As for his future, next year he will release the romantic comedy A Family Affair, in which he stars alongside Joey King, Nicole Kidman, Liza Koshy, and Kathy Bates. He is also set to star in Ricky Stanicky, a fantasy comedy along with John Cena.


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