‘Iron Claw’ Director Omitted One Von Erich Brother Due to His Death, Deeming It an Additional Tragedy Too Heavy for the Film


The film “The Iron Claw” centers on the Von Erich wrestling family, renowned in the early 1980s for their impact on professional wrestling. This A24 drama, based on real events, focuses on four Von Erich brothers: Kevin (played by Zac Efron), David (portrayed by Harris Dickinson), Kerry (embodied by Jeremy Allen White), and Mike (played by Stanley Simons). Notably absent from the film is the youngest brother, Chris Von Erich.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, director Sean Durkin revealed the rationale behind excluding Chris, who, although a wrestler, faced challenges due to his asthma and brittle bone condition, which hampered his success. Tragically, Chris died by suicide at the age of 21 in 1991.

Durkin explained that including Chris would have added another layer of tragedy to an already devastating narrative, potentially overwhelming the film’s narrative balance. He shared the struggles in portraying the family’s numerous tragedies, suggesting that including Chris might have made it insurmountably heavy.


The Von Erichs’ history was marked by a series of misfortunes, often referred to as the “Von Erich curse.” David passed away unexpectedly in 1984 at the age of 25, while both Mike and Kerry died by suicide in 1987 and 1993, respectively. “The Iron Claw” explores these events through the lens of Kevin, the only surviving Von Erich brother.

Durkin disclosed that Chris initially had a place in the script for several years, but ultimately, the decision to exclude him was difficult, something he struggled with extensively before reaching a conclusion.

The director also shared his choice not to engage with Kevin Von Erich until after completing the script, acknowledging the challenge of encapsulating a person’s life in a film and the inevitable limitations in portraying a complex journey within a family.

“The Iron Claw” is currently showing in theaters, focusing on the emotional and tragic journey of the Von Erich family during their wrestling career’s pinnacle.