Dwayne Johnson to Star in MMA Biopic ‘The Smashing Machine’ for Director Benny Safdie and A24

The drama is based on the story of legendary fighter Mark Kerr from the no-holds-barred era of the UFC

The Smashing Machine Dwayne Johnson Benny Safide Mark Kerr

A24 will produce and finance the film “The Smashing Machine” starring Dwayne Johnson and written and directed by Benny Safdie, the company said Wednesday.

“The Smashing Machine” is a drama based on the story of Mark Kerr, the legendary MMA fighter from the no-holds-barred era of the UFC. He struggles with addiction, winning, love and friendship in the year 2000.

The film is Johnson’s move into his most dramatic project and role yet. Also of note, the film is Benny Safdie’s first solo directorial debut.

Johnson and Safdie have been collaborators on the project since Johnson’s and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions acquired the rights in 2019. A24 has joined as a partner.

Seven Bucks Productions will produce alongside Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.

Kerr is an American former wrestler and mixed martial artist. During his MMA career he was a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, a Pride FC heavyweight champion, 1992 NCAA national wrestling champion, 1994 National Freestyle champion and four-time ADCC World Submission champion. In 2003, Kerr was the subject of an HBO documentary titled “The Smashing Machine,” which detailed his MMA career fighting in Vale Tudo, the UFC and Pride.

“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.”

Johnson is repped by WME, Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman and The Lede Company. Safdie is repped by WME, Untitled Entertainment and Narrative.

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