Dwayne Johnson will be taking his most dramatic role to date in a new A24 project from one half of the Uncut Gems team, Benny Safdie.
Johnson is set to star in The Smashing Machine as real-life mixed martial arts fighter Mark Kerr, a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion.
Safdie, who wrote and will direct the feature (his first solo directorial effort), has been developing the project with Johnson, who notably started his career as a professional wrestler, since 2019.
A 2002 HBO doc also titled The Smashing Machine details Kerr’s professional career and his rise through the fighting world, as well as his battle with an addiction to pain killers that lead to an overdose.
Kerr earned the nickname “The Smashing Machine” due to no-holds-barred fighting style.
A24 will finance the film, as well as produce alongside Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions, Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.
Said A24’s Noah Sacco, “Dwayne and Benny are singular talents, and their shared vision for Mark’s inspiring story is electrifying. We are deeply honored to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life.”
Johnson’s upcoming credits include Red Notice 2, the follow-up to the big budgeted Netflix action comedy of the same name, and the Amazon action comedy Red One, which will se him co-starring alongside Chris Evans. He is represented by WME and Gang Tyre.
Safdie, whose recent onscreen credits include Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Judy Blume adaptation Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarette, and Showtime series The Curse, is represented by WME and Untitled Entertainment.