Zac Efron has signed on to star in an upcoming A24 film about the Von Erich wrestling family. The film will be titled The Iron Claw, and will be written and directed by Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Nest).
The Von Erich family – consisting of patriarch Fritz and his sons Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris – are famous in wrestling, usually for portraying heels. But the likely reason The Iron Claw is getting made is due to what’s known in the wrestling business as the “Von Erich curse.”
When Fritz died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 69, five of his six sons had already predeceased him. First son Jack drowned in a puddle at age 6 in 1959, David died from enteritis in 1984 at age 25, and Mike, Chris and Kerry all committed suicide; Mike via a Placidyl overdose in 1987, and Chris and Kerry shot themselves in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Kevin is Fritz’s last surviving son.
The origin of the curse is rarely discussed, but the story itself is usually presented as a cautionary tale about parental influence, sibling rivalry and various dangers of the professional wrestling business. The Von Erich family does still wrestle today, with Ross and Marshall currently performing in MLW as the reigning tag team champions.
It’s not yet clear who Efron will be playing, but this is the kind of dark and fascinating story A24 is usually good at producing, so there should be high hopes for this. Being a wrestling fan shouldn’t be a prerequisite, as a harrowing true story about multiple tragic deaths occurring within one family should capture audience attention quickly.
A24 have already had a good year thanks to the release of the acclaimed Everything Everywhere All At Once. The studio also has animated/live-action mockumentary Marcel the Shell with Shoes On due out later this month, as well as Halina Reijn‘s slasher film Bodies Bodies Bodies due in August.
Efron’s 2022 has consisted of starring roles in survival thriller Gold and horror remake Firestarter. His next role, Peter Farrelly‘s comedy The Greatest Beer Run Ever, is currently in post-production.