In the next film, The Smashing Machine, Dwayne Johnson will play mixed martial arts fighter Mark Kerr

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Benny Safdie, who co-directed “Uncut Gems,” will helm the film.

In a remarkable turn of events, Dwayne Johnson is playing mix martial art star Mark Kerr.

The 51-year-old wrestler-turned-actor will play the UFC and MMA champion in Benny Safdie’s upcoming film The Smashing Machine, which A24 announced on Wednesday.

“Dwayne and Benny possess exceptional talent, and their joint vision for Mark’s motivational tale is captivating. “We are immensely grateful for their confidence in us as partners in realizing this extraordinarily unique project,” Noah Sacco of A24 said in a press release to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

Safdie, 37, previously co-directed the films Uncut Gems, starring Sandler Sandler, and Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson, alongside his brother Josh Safdie. Safdie is going to work alone on The Smashing Machine as writer and director for the first time. Producing the movie are David Koplan, Eli Bush, Dany Garcia, Safdie, and Johnson.

In the film, Kerr, at the height of his career in 2000, will be followed as he deals with addiction, love, friendship, and professional success.

Because of his unrestrained fighting style, 54-year-old Kerr gained the moniker “The Smashing Machine.” In addition to winning more than two dozen mixed martial arts titles, he also won the World Vale Tudo Championships tournament twice and the UFC Heavyweight Tournament twice.

The Smashing Machine, an HBO documentary, focused on Kerr in 2002. It tracked the mixed martial arts fighter’s career, chronicling his ascent within the sport, and examined Kerr’s struggle with addiction that culminated in an overdose.


Although Johnson left the WWE for good in 2004, he has recently made a comeback and squared off against former rival John Cena.

When the two wrestlers champions squared up at Coors Arena in Denver, Colorado, during WWE SmackDown! in September, it startled the crowd. Cena was seen silently standing behind Johnson during his comeback, looking straight ahead with both of his hands above his backs.

The two men regarded one other, expressionless and unable to maintain their stern expression until they both burst into smiles.

“I see your making an effort to smile!” Cena nodded in agreement as Johnson spoke while pointing at him. Then, the Peacemaker actor extended his hand to shake Johnson’s and said, “Welcome home.”

Red Note 2, Fast X: Part 2, Jungle Cruising 2, Red One, and the live-action Moana version are among Johnson’s other forthcoming projects.

Producer Safdie is well known for his work on the films Telemarketing firms and Love Has Won. He appeared in the film Are You There, God? Oppenheimer, Margaret, and myself.

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