Benny Safdie’s The Smashing Machine Casts The Rock As MMA Champion Mark Kerr

Benny Safdie / Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Who’s ready to feel stressed out all over again? Because if weekly drops of The Curse aren’t leaving you sweaty-palmed enough, there’s a brand new Safdie joint on the way. Note, singular Safdie, not Safdie Brothers – because while the duo behind Uncut Gems and Good Time make for an incredible team, they’re pursuing their next directorial films separately. Josh Safdie is said to be working on a new film with Adam Sandler, while Benny Safdie – fresh from starring in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and Oppenheimer – is cooking up one of his own. It’s titled The Smashing Machine, it’s an A24 movie, and it has a big star in its leading role: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

The film will mark something of a departure for The Rock, who generally pursues family-friendly blockbusters – though, his career started with harder-edged material like Southland Tales and Walking Tall. In Safdie’s film, he’ll play Mark Kerr – the real-life MMA fighter known for not holding back in the ring, and who had a 2003 HBO documentary titled The Smashing Machine: The Life And Times Of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr. According to A24, the film will be “a drama based on the story of Mark Kerr, the legendary MMA fighter from the no-holds-barred era of the UFC at the peak of his career. He struggles with addiction, winning, love and friendship in the year 2000.” A24’s Noah Sacco said: “Dwayne and Benny are singular talents, and their shared vision for Mark’s inspiring story is electrifying. We are deeply honoured to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life.”

Get ready, then for a different type of film from The Rock – here’s hoping he doesn’t get this one mixed up with his live-action Maui in Disney’s Moana remake. (Though, singing ‘You’re Welcome’ after demolishing someone in an MMA fight would be a real flex.)

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