Dwayne Johnson Starring In True Story About Fighting Icon

By Charlene Badasie | Published

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Dwayne Johnson is set to star in the upcoming A24 feature, The Smashing Machine. The movie chronicles the life of legendary MMA and UFC champion Mark Kerr.

Dwayne Johnson And Early UFC

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Set against the backdrop of the no-holds-barred era of the UFC in 2000, the story will explore the fighter’s triumphs in the ring, personal struggles, and the complexities of his relationships.

In a statement via Variety, A24 said the film will be Dwayne Johnson’s “most dramatic project and role yet.” 

The Smashing Machine aims to capture the essence of Kerr’s life during the peak of his career, including the highs of victory and the lows of addiction.

The story promises to take audiences on an emotional journey through the life of the fighting icon.

Dwayne Johnson And Benny Safdie

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Dwayne Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions are teaming up with director Benny Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush, and David Koplan to produce The Smashing Machine.

Johnson and Safdie, known for his work on Uncut Gems and Good Time, have been collaborating on the project since 2019, when Johnson acquired the rights.

Others Involved With This Dwayne Johnson Movie

A24, joining as producer and financier, adds prestige to the production, ensuring a high-quality cinematic experience. Noah Sacco, a representative from A24, described the shared vision for Kerr’s story as electrifying, referencing the dedication of Dwayne Johnson and Safdie.

“We are deeply honored to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life,” Sacco said.

Wrestling To UFC

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Benny Safdie takes on the dual role of writer and director for The Smashing Machine. This marks Safdie’s first solo project, following the success of the critically acclaimed crime thrillers that he worked on with his brother Josh.

Dwayne Johnson is an excellent choice for the role since, like Mark Kerr, he is also a retired wrestler – albeit in a different genre.

Dwayne Johnson Sports Movies

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Kerr boasts an impressive career in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). His achievements include being a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion, winning the World Vale Tudo Championship, and earning the Pride FC Heavyweight Champion title.

He excelled in amateur wrestling, clinching the 1992 NCAA National Wrestling Champion and the 1994 National Freestyle Champion titles.

The Smashing Machine isn’t Dwayne Johnson’s first foray into sports movies. He previously had roles in films like Gridiron Gang and Fighting With My Family.

The former WWE superstar also made a surprising return to the Fast & Furious franchise, reconciling with co-star Vin Diesel and appearing in a post-credits scene in Fast X.

Dwayne Johnson’s Other Projects

Dwayne Johnson’s upcoming projects include a live-action adaptation of the 2016 animated film Moana. Additionally, his movie, Red One, featuring co-stars J.K. Simmons, Lucy Liu, and Chris Evans, is in the pipeline, although a release date is yet to be announced.

Directed by Jake Kasdal, this Christmas-themed action-adventure film wrapped filming in Atlanta this past February.

Not limited to the big screen, Dwayne Johnson has extended his presence to television, where he played a significant role in the creation, production, and narration of the NBC series Young Rock. 

Despite its cancellation in June after three seasons, Johnson’s involvement in film and television projects showcases his commitment to entertaining audiences across various platforms.