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By Mike Johnson on 2024-03-13 11:36:00

The Rock's next feature film project will be The Smashing Machine, a film adaptation of the 2002 documentary The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr.

Mark Kerr, now 55, won two UFC Heavyweight Tournaments, competed in the PRIDE Fighting Championship, was a  NCAA Division I champion and a World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner over the course of his MMA career.  The 2002 documentary was acclaimed at the time of its release:

Johnson announced he would be portraying Kerr back in November 2019, but the project was obviously delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rock's production company Seven Bucks is producing. 

Emily Blunt, who worked with The Rock on Disney's Jungle Cruise, has been cast as Kerr's wife Dawn Staples. has confirmed that casting is underway for a number of supporting characters in the film, which we can exclusively confirm is currently slated to film from 5/1 through 8/1.    That would likely take him out of doing anything physical for WWE during that time period.

Over the course of production, the film will be shooting in Los Angeles and New Mexico domestically as well as Tokyo, Japan and Vancouver, British Columbia internationally.

Among the MMA fighters being cast for the film are Bas Rutten, Igor Vovchanchyn and Mark Coleman.  Coleman was Kerr's mentor and trainer.  Rutten also helped train Kerr over his career.  Vovchanchyn battled Kerr in PRIDE.    

They are also currently casting PRIDE owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

Benny Safdie, who co-directed and co-wrote the great Adam Sandler crime thriller Uncut Gems, wrote the screenplay and will be directing The Smashing Machine.



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