Benny Safdie Directs Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in “The Smashing Machine” Movie

Benny Safdie Directs Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in “The Smashing Machine” Movie

Known primarily for his behind-the-camera work alongside his brother Josh, Benny Safdie is embarking on his first solo directorial venture with an intriguing and gritty subject.

He has enlisted the talents of Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, reuniting the “Jungle Cruise” stars for “The Smashing Machine.”

This film delves into the life of mixed martial arts legend Mark Kerr, with A24 Studios recently releasing a first look at Johnson in the lead role.

This promising project is set to captivate audiences with its raw portrayal of Kerr’s tumultuous journey.

Mark Kerr: A Legendary Fighter

Mark Kerr is a name that resonates deeply within the world of mixed martial arts. A two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Tournament Champion and World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, Kerr’s career was marked by numerous victories and titles.

Over the years, he secured over two dozen MMA titles, establishing himself as an icon of the sport.

However, his success in the ring was paralleled by personal struggles, including battles with addiction and challenges in his marriage to Dawn Staples, portrayed by Emily Blunt.

These elements make Kerr’s story a compelling subject for Safdie’s film.

The Genesis of “The Smashing Machine”

The idea for “The Smashing Machine” was initially conceived in 2019 when Johnson and Safdie first discussed the project. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to put their plans on hold.

During this hiatus, Johnson and Safdie lost touch, but the project was unexpectedly revived during a phone call between Johnson and Blunt.

Blunt, who had worked with Safdie on “Oppenheimer,” passionately recommended the documentary “The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr” to Johnson, reigniting his interest in the film.

Benny Safdie’s Vision and Dwayne Johnson’s Commitment

Benny Safdie is known for his ability to craft stories that are both raw and real, featuring characters who are authentic and often uncomfortable. His vision for “The Smashing Machine” is no different.

“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,” Johnson shared with Variety.

This approach aligns perfectly with Johnson’s current career aspirations. “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 humanity and explore struggle and pain.”

Transforming into Mark Kerr

One of the most striking aspects of Johnson’s involvement in “The Smashing Machine” is his physical transformation to resemble Mark Kerr more closely.

This transformation, involving the use of prosthetics, signifies Johnson’s dedication to authentically portraying Kerr’s character.

Such commitment highlights the serious and immersive nature of this project, promising a portrayal that goes beyond Johnson’s typical action-hero persona.

Production and Anticipation

With production currently underway, “The Smashing Machine” is generating significant anticipation among fans and critics alike. While no release date has been announced, the excitement surrounding the film continues to build.

The collaboration between Safdie, Johnson, and Blunt, combined with the compelling story of Mark Kerr, positions “The Smashing Machine” as a highly anticipated addition to the cinematic landscape.

Conclusion: A Film That Explores Depth and Humanity

“The Smashing Machine” stands as a testament to Benny Safdie’s directorial prowess and Dwayne Johnson’s evolving career.

By bringing Mark Kerr’s complex and gripping story to the screen, the film aims to explore themes of humanity, struggle, and resilience.

As fans await its release, the collaboration of these talented individuals promises a cinematic experience that is both impactful and unforgettable.

This film is not just about MMA; it’s about the human spirit and the battles fought both inside and outside the ring.