The Rock Transforms Into MMA Icon Mark Kerr in First Look at Benny Safdie’s The Smashing Machine

A24 has revealed the first look at the nearly unrecognizable Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the MMA icon Mark Kerr in Benny Safdie’s The Smashing Machine.

While we were given no further details beyond the picture, there is a lot to discuss in the image itself. Alongside seeing The Rock with hair and without his distinctive tattoos, we also get a look at Emily Blunt’s Dawn Staples, who is Kerr’s wife. Kerr himself looks to be in the middle of a fight and is being attended to by his coaches.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Mark Kerr in The Smashing Machine. Image Credit: A24

You can see how Johnson compares to Kerr below.

Mark Kerr in 1997. Image Credit: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

This film is being adapted from the 2002 documentary called The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr and will dive deep into the former wrestler and MMA athlete’s life in the UFC and beyond, including his “struggles with addiction, winning, love, and friendship in the year 2000.”

The Smashing Machine may mark a big moment in Johnson’s career, as it looks to be his grand entrance into the world of dramatic acting.

“I’m at a point in my career where I want to push myself in ways that I’ve not pushed myself in the past,” Johnson told Variety. “I’m at a point in my career where I want to make films that matter, that explore a humanity, and explore struggle [and] pain.”

Uncut Gems co-director Benny Safdie is helping Johnson make this move as he will be at the helm of the project. The Smashing Machine also marks Safdie’s solo feature directorial debut.

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Adam Bankhurst is a writer for IGN. You can follow him on X/Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on TikTok.

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