Sean Durkin quietly dropped one of the early pandemic’s finest films during the dry season of streaming-only releasing in 2020, though pressing world events put something of a ceiling on the number of eyeballs that The Nest ultimately reached. But writer/director Sean Durkin (of 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene) is back, and it looks like he’s not going to leave us hanging for another nine years before completing a follow-up.
Deadline broke the news that the indie stalwart has locked in his next feature project with Iron Claw, an A24-fronted dramatization of the sad events that befell the Von Erich family of wrestlers. And for the lead role, he’s wrangled an actor with the range and rippling washboard abs that the gig requires: newly minted serious thespian Zac Efron.
The Von Erichs were a Texan clan that treated pro wrestling like a family business, handed down from father Fritz (who was largely responsible for resuscitating the sport during the ’60s in Japan, where he earned the nickname that gives the film its title) to his six sons. But he’d live to see enough accumulated misfortune to make the Tenenbaums feel lucky befall his brood of brawlers, to the point that wrestling fans murmur about the Von Erich “family curse” to this day.
It’s not yet clear whether Efron will portray Fritz himself or one of the sons, but in either case, this gig will push him farther into the dramatic, exploratory phase his career seems to have entered with roles like a charming Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile as well as a vaping rehab dropout in The Beach Bum. Soon enough, Efron’s swoop-haired days as a Disney Channel crush object will be a faint memory, overwritten by a growing list of well-feted auteur collaborations. Watch your back, Robert Pattinson.
And as for Durkin, this is more proof that he’s someone heavyweight actors will climb over each other to work with, The Nest having given Jude Law and Carrie Coon some of the meatiest writing either one has seen in a good while. Given the subject matter, he’ll need a large ensemble cast, and the A24 imprimatur combined with Durkin’s own cachet could lure in some major names.
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