Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to portray UFC and PRIDE legend Mark Kerr in new biopic from A24
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has remained a loyal supporter of MMA for many years and now he’ll finally get the chance to set foot inside the cage. Well sort of.
The former WWE superstar turned actor has officially signed on to star as UFC and PRIDE legend Mark Kerr in the upcoming biopic based on his life called The Smashing Machine. Indie darling studio A24 will produce the film with Benny Safdie — best known for his Independent Spirit Award winning film Uncut Gems — will direct the feature.
Safdie will also pen the script for the film, which has been in development for several years with Johnson producing under his Seven Bucks Productions with A24 providing the financing for the movie.
“Dwayne and Benny are singular talents, and their shared vision for Mark’s inspiring story is electrifying,” A24’s Noah Sacco said in a statement. “We are deeply honored to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life.”
The Smashing Machine was also the title of a 2002 HBO documentary that centered around Kerr — a two-time UFC tournament champion and fixture in PRIDE Fighting Championships — who struggled with addiction to pain killers and other drugs during his fighting career. The documentary also featured appearances from other MMA legends like Mark Coleman and Bas Rutten as well.
The upcoming film will serve as Safdie’s first solo directing project after previously working alongside his brother Josh on numerous projects. Most recently, Safdie took on several acting roles including an appearance in the Christopher Nolan feature film Oppenheimer as well as the Showtime series The Curse where he stars alongside Emma Stone.
A24 has produced numerous Oscar-winning films including Everything, Everywhere All at Once and Moonlight, which both took home Best Picture Academy Awards.