Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr in 'The Smashing Machine'
(A24)

Meet ‘The Smashing Machine,’ the Film That’s Hoping to Give Dwayne Johnson a Shot at the Oscars

Some ideas just sound fundamentally incorrect in your head, on your tongue, and on paper. Dwayne Johnson leading an A24 movie is one of those ideas.

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In fact, that idea is so generally perplexing that its ultimate manifestation demands to be witnessed. That manifestation will come in the form of The Smashing Machine, the very A24 film that Dwayne Johnson will be leading.

So, what’s the deal with this machine? And what will it be smashing?

What is The Smashing Machine about?

A biographical sports drama, The Smashing Machine will examine and dramatize the life of Mark Kerr, a decorated mixed martial artist whose career—which took him from freestyle wrestling to MMA to submission wrestling—was hindered by substance abuse. The film’s title also borrows from a 2002 HBO documentary on the same subject, helmed by John Hyams.

Who stars in The Smashing Machine?

Johnson will star in the film as Kerr, while his Jungle Cruise co-star Emily Blunt will portray the athlete’s then-wife Dawn Staples. Real-life MMA fighter Ryan Bader will feature as Kerr’s friend and training partner Mark Coleman, while Lyndsey Gavin and Zoe Kosovic will star as Elizabeth and McKenzie Coleman, respectively. Boxer Oleksandr Usyk will portray Ukrainian MMA fighter Igor Vovchanchyn.

The film is written and directed by Benny Safdie, marking the first time the filmmaker has helmed a feature without his brother Josh working on the same project. Safdie also produces alongside Johnson, Eli Bush, and David Koplan. It’s unclear how much involvement Kerr himself has with the movie.

When does The Smashing Machine release?

At the time of writing, The Smashing Machine is reportedly aiming for a December 2024 release date, but no official announcement has been on that front just yet.


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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer at The Mary Sue and We Got This Covered. She's been writing professionally since 2018 (a year before she completed her English and Journalism degrees at St. Thomas University), and is likely to exert herself if given the chance to write about film or video games.