Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iMartha Marcy May Marlene /idirector Sean Durkin to grapple with wrestlings Von Erich curse
Screenshot: YouTube

Sean Durkin’s been working primarily as a producer since making a splash with Martha Marcy May Marlene, the affecting, cult-centric indie that helped launch the career of Elizabeth Olsen. That’s about to change, though, as the filmmaker will debut The Nest this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival and, as Deadline reports, is already at work on a follow-up about the wrestling world’s Von Erich family.


The Von Erich family—real name Adkisson—should be familiar to any longtime fan of pro wrestling, as the Texas clan’s World Class Championship Wrestling was wildly popular in the pre-WWE days, with Fritz Von Erich’s five children—Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris—serving as its shining, smiling stars. Kerry even found success in Vince McMahon’s WWE, winning the Intercontinental Championship in 1990 as the Texas Tornado.

Tragedy ran deep in the family, however, as their God-fearing personas masked a deep darkness. Fritz lived long enough to see five of his six sons die, three of them by suicide. Collectively, the tragedy of the family is referred to as the “Von Erich curse,” and it’s become a kind of shorthand for the mental, physical, and familial toll of sports entertainment, the exacting nature and unforgiving schedule of which has helped to claim no shortage of lives.

The Von Erich family’s story has been told numerous times—including in David Shoemaker’s excellent The Squared Circle and Viceland’s docuseries The Dark Side Of The Ring—but Durkin’s will be the first dramatization. “I’m very excited about this one,” Durkin told Deadline. “It’s another family portrait, about a wrestling family who revolutionized the sport and then suffered tragedy.”

Stay tuned for our Sundance dispatch on Durkin’s The Nest next week.


Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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