The Martha Marcy May Marlene filmmaker is scripting a pic that will tell the rise and fall of the Von Erich family, a dynasty of wrestlers who made a huge impact on the sport from the 1960s to the present day.
Durkin is teaming with Tessa Ross, the former Film4 chief, and Juliette Howell who are producing under their banner House Productions. BBC Films chief Rose Garnett, who was a key backer of The Nest, is also onboard and is co-financing development with House (the latter using funds from its deal with Access Entertainment).
“I’m very excited about this one,” Durkin told us. “It’s another family portrait, about a wrestling family who revolutionised the sport and then suffered tragedy.”
“Sean is an extraordinary filmmaker and we’re excited to be working with him,” added Tessa Ross.
The Von Erichs, real name Adkisson, began their wrestling dynasty when Fritz Von Erich (born Jack Barton Adkisson) became a star in the National Wrestling Alliance, holding multiple belts in the 1960s before becoming president of the org. He died in 1997.
He and his wife Doris had six sons, five of whom died before their father, which led to talk of a curse, colloquially dubbed the ‘Von Erich curse’. Today, two sons of Kevin Von Erich, the last surviving brother, are both pro wrestlers with Major League Wrestling.
In 2009, the Von Erich family were inducted by Michael “P.S.” Hayes into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Durkin’s family drama The Nest stars Jude Law alongside Carrie Coon in the story of a married couple in the 1980s who relocate from the U.S. to the UK so the husband can pursue a business opportunity. After they move into a huge stately house, their lives begin to unravel. FilmNation is handling sales on the anticipated pic.
Alongside Martha Marcy May Marlene, which was a critical hit after it premiered at Sundance in 2011 and was bought by Fox Searchlight, Durkin also directed the 2013 miniseries Southcliffe.