Based on interviews I’ve seen, Efron seems to have taken the elder brother role seriously. What was the best advice he gave you?
We had a group chat, and he would just send these really uplifting messages. At the end of the day when everyone’s knackered, he would always just message and be like, “You guys did so good today. Proud of you. Love you.” Just such sweet, easy stuff. But it does make a difference because you’d feel like, “Ah, yeah, all right. He sees us.”
You mentioned the hot pants briefly, but David really has his own, specific, over-the-top style. He has his cowboy hat, and his wrestling outfits were the most elaborate. Did you get a sense of how he landed on that?
He was the Yellow Rose of Texas, that was his nickname. I think he was a southern boy through and through and loved the attire, and leaned into it. He just enjoyed it. And I think our amazing costume designer, Jen [Starzyk], really wanted to stay true to that. A lot of the costumes you see in the film are direct copies from what they actually wore.
David was the first Von Erich son to die in adulthood, but by the time Fritz Von Erich died, five out of six of his sons had predeceased him. When you were doing your research, did you get the sense that he felt remorse over that?
I like to believe in the humanity and remorse in everyone, the fact that there’s always some sort of reason for their actions and hope for their actions. I don’t know the [real-life] situation enough to speak on it, really. But I think that certainly in the film, Sean really tries to encapsulate what that means: to neglect emotion and neglect discussion around emotion.
It also seemed like, despite him pitting his sons against each other, they weren’t that competitive.
Yeah, they were really supportive of each other, even when they felt undercut or against each other through their dad’s efforts. Despite the comparisons, there was so much love between them. Kevin Von Erich, who’s still alive, spoke about that with Sean. He was like, “It’s important how much we loved each other.” And the love was so present there. Despite the competition and despite the sort of hardships, there’s still just so much support when one of them gets some level of success. It’s nice to see, and it’s nice to know that that was actually the truth.
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