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Dwayne Johnson looks unrecognizable as he transforms into MMA icon in ‘The Smashing Machine’

Dwayne Johnson is nearly unrecognizable in the first look at his upcoming A24 drama “The Smashing Machine,” directed by Benny Safdie and co-starring his “Jungle Cruise” screen partner Emily Blunt.
The film casts Johnson as legendary MMA fighter Mark Kerr, who struggled with addiction and his marriage while becoming an icon of the sport. Blunt is starring as Dawn Staples, Kerr’s wife. The film is currently in production.
While Johnson looks typically ripped as Kerr in “The Smashing Machine” first look, he also appears to be sporting some facial prosthetics to help him transform into the MMA legend.
Kerr was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion and World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner. Over the course of his career, he won over two dozen MMA titles.
“The Smashing Machine” marks the solo feature directorial debut of Safdie, who collaborated with his brother Josh on A24’s indie hits such as “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems.”
Benny acted alongside Blunt in Christopher Nolan’s “Opppenheimer.”
Johnson and Safdie first connected on the project in 2019 but fell out of touch and put the film on hold due to the pandemic.
Years later, Johnson and Blunt were on the phone when Blunt revealed she had just watched the 2002 documentary “The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr” and encouraged Johnson: “You must make this movie.”
Johnson previously told Variety that he was partially attracted to “The Smashing Machine” because “Benny wants to create, and continues to push the envelope when it comes to stories that are raw and real, characters that are authentic and at times uncomfortable and arresting.
“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. 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.”
Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions are producing the film alongside Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.
A24 has not yet announced a release date for “The Smashing Machine.”

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