Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock speaks to the crowd before Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like we’re about to get a film with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing an athlete again. The Hollywood star and current part-owner of the XFL (which is being merged with the USFL) certainly has quite an athletic past, from playing football at the University of Miami and in the CFL to wrestling in WWE. And he’s now set to portray Mark Kerr, a NCAA wrestling champion at Syracuse who went on to a notable MMA career with the World Vale Tudo Championship, the UFC, Pride, and more. And that will come in an A24 movie from Benny Safdie, one-half of the Safdie Brothers team behind such movies as Uncut Gems:

Here’s more from that The Hollywood Reporter piece from Mia Galuppo:

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.

…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.”

There was already a significant 2003 HBO documentary on Kerr, also called The Smashing Machine, from Millennium Entertainment. Here’s a trailer for that:

And there’s a lot to Kerr’s story beyond the ring, including battles with opioid addiction. It will be interesting to see how Safdie and Johnson approach bringing that to the big screen. But it’s notable that this is a project they’ve been working on for years. We’ll see how it turns out.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.