From the squared circle to the silver screen?
If one up-and-coming director has his way, North Texans could find themselves reliving the glory days of World Class Championship Wrestling sooner than later.
Sean Durkin, best known for Sundance Film Festival selections “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “The Host”, is reportedly developing a biopic on the famous Von Erich wrestling family.
“I’m very excited about this one,” Durkin told Deadline.com. “It’s another family portrait, about a wrestling family who revolutionised the sport and then suffered tragedy.”
A rather simplistic, yet accurate synopsis of an in-ring name that has meant so much to the pro-wrestling industry.
The Von Erichs (whose real last name is Adkisson) achieved a superhero-like status in Dallas during the late 1970s and 80s, mainly for their wrestling exploits. Brothers Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris became icons on syndicated television while working for their father Fritz’ wrestling promotion.
Thanks to his universally beloved boys, WCCW events became a hot ticket. More so, the company innovated a production style that today’s pro-wrestling product still harkens back to.
But the brothers struggled with drugs, injury, illness, stardom and suicide. David, Mike and Chris never saw age 30, and Kerry took his life at the age of 33. If you have lived in D-FW more than 25 years, you’re probably familiar with the story already.
Kevin, now 62 years old, is the brother who survived. His sons Ross and Marshall currently wrestle around the nation with Major League Wrestling, representing the family’s third generation.
Little is currently known about the project or its timeline, but Deadline reports that the film is being backed financially. BBC Films chief Rose Garnett is onboard after working with Durkin on a previous feature. Durkin will be responsible for the script.
The Von Erich story has been told before, through documentaries, television segments and digital shorts. Both ESPN and Vice have covered the family’s history in the past five years. Few tellings, however, have scratched far beneath the surface. The Von Erich past has never been fully adapted or dramatized.
Hollywood blockbusters featuring pro wrestlers are common. Compelling, cinematic looks at the real lives of pro wrestlers are much rarer.
Darren Aronofsky’s 2008 drama “The Wrestler”, starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, is likely the best fictional glimpse into the realities of a wrestling career. The film was critically acclaimed and received two Oscar nominations.
The Netflix series “GLOW” debuted in 2017 — a comedy-drama depicting the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion. The series was picked up for its fourth and final season last September.
Reece Kelley Graham is a digital producer, staff writer and pro-wrestling contributor for The Dallas Morning News.