Smashing Machine, The: Dwayne Johnson Transforms Into MMA Icon Mark Kerr in Benny Safdie’s Drama–First Look

‘Smashing Machine’ First Look: Dwayne Johnson Transforms Into MMA Icon Mark Kerr

Dwayne Johnson is unrecognizable in the first look at his upcoming drama The Smashing Machine, directed by Benny Safdie and co-starring his “Jungle Cruise” screen partner Emily Blunt.

The film casts Johnson as legendary MMA fighter Mark Kerr, who struggled with addiction and his marriage while becoming an icon of the sport.

Oscar nominee Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”) is starring as Dawn Staples, Kerr’s wife.

The film is currently in production.

While Johnson looks typically ripped as Kerr in The Smashing Machine first look, he appears to be sporting facial prosthetics to help him transform into the MMA legend.

Kerr was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion and World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner. Over the course of his career, he won over two dozen MMA titles.

Benny acted alongside Blunt in Christopher Nolan’s Oscar winning picture, Oppenheimer.
Johnson and Safdie first connected on the project in 2019 but fell out of touch and put the film on hold due to the pandemic. Years later, Johnson and Blunt were on the phone when Blunt revealed she had just watched the 2002 documentary “The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr” and encouraged Johnson: “You must make this movie.”
Raw and Real Story
Johnson attracted to “The Smashing Machine” because “Benny wants to create, and continues to push the envelope when it comes to stories that are raw and real, characters that are authentic and at times uncomfortable and arresting. I’m at a point in my career where I want to push myself in ways that I’ve not pushed myself in the past. I’m at a point in my career where I want to make films that matter, that explore a humanity and explore struggle and pain.”

Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions are producing the film alongside Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.

A24 has not yet announced a release date for “The Smashing Machine.”

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