Dwayne Johnson Totally Transforms In First Look At The Smashing Machine

By Douglas Helm | Published

dwayne johnson

Blockbuster superstar Dwayne Johnson is going indie. Auteur production company A24 shared a first look of the upcoming film The Smashing Machine, which is directed by Benny Safdie (Good Time, Uncut Gems) and also stars Emily Blunt. Johnson looks nearly unrecognizable in the image, other than his always-imposing stature.

The Smashing Machine

Though Dwayne Johnson’s transformation draws the eye in this image from The Smashing Machine, you can also see Emily Blunt’s character in the bottom right. Johnson’s transformation for the film is fitting, considering he’s playing real-life MMA fighter Mark Kerr, while Blunt plays his wife, Dawn Staples. Still, it’s jarring to see Johnson without his signature tattoos and with a full head of hair.

Based On A Real MMA Fighter

Dwayne Johnson will flex his dramatic chops in The Smashing Machine, as the film follows Kerr’s struggles with addiction and his relationships while competing as an MMA fighter in the year 2000. While Johnson has taken on dramatic roles before, an A24 film directed by Benny Safdie could be the set up for him to have his best performance yet.

Along with his brother Josh, Safdie has brought out all-time great performances from Robert Pattinson and Adam Sandler in Good Time and Uncut Gems, respectively.

Working Alongside A Talented Director

dwayne johnson

It’ll be interesting to see if Benny Safdie can coax an Oscar-worthy performance out of Dwayne Johnson in The Smashing Machine, but this first image is certainly promising. Johnson, as he often does with his projects, has been busy on the business side of things as well. Johnson was recently in Cannes to meet with buyers for the film.

One Of The Directors Of Uncut Gems

A24 is producing and backing Dwayne Johnson’s The Smashing Machine. The Smashing Machine marks yet another collaboration between A24 and Benny Safdie, who previously worked with the indie production company on Good Time, Uncut Gems, and, most recently, the Showtime series The Curse, starring Nathan Fielder and Emma Stone. Clearly, Safdie and A24 have a good thing going, and it doesn’t look like this film will end that hot streak.

Joined By Emily Blunt

Along with directing Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in The Smashing Machine, Benny Safdie also wrote the script for the film. Along with Johnson and Blunt, the rest of the cast is rounded out by Lyndsey Gavin, Oleksandr Usyk, and Ryan Bader. Filming for the project is expected to go through the summer, so we’ll likely hear more about the project as production continues.

Dwayne Johnson Has A Busy Few Years Ahead Of Him

dwayne johnson

If you look at pictures of Mark Kerr, Dwayne Johnson is a dead ringer for him in this image. Kerr’s notable achievements during his fighting career include being a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion, a World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, and a four-time ADCC World Champion in submission wrestling.

A 2002 documentary about Kerr was made, also titled The Smashing Machine, that focused on his struggles with substance abuse, relationships, and friendship with fellow fighter Mark Coleman. 

Hopefully, we’ll get an official release date for The Smashing Machine soon. In the meantime, Dwayne Johnson has been busy making appearances at his old stomping grounds in the WWE. Johnson also has an expansive slate of upcoming projects that include Moana 2, the live-action Moana, and Red One.