Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will soon transform into “The Smashing Machine.”
“I’m proud to say that myself and Seven Bucks Productions are going to make a film about the life of one of your founding fathers, the pioneering founding fathers, ‘The Smashing Machine’ Mark Kerr,” Johnson said.
“Mark Kerr’s story is such an incredible story. Here’s a guy who won the two-time heavyweight tournament in the early stages of UFC, and here’s a guy who also went over to PRIDE, (and) he had this incredible run. As many of these warriors have, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on this man.”
Kerr, 50, began fighting back in 1997 after he was an NCAA wrestling champion from Syracuse University. He won both the UFC 14 and UFC 15 heavyweight tournaments while racking up seven total fights in his first year of competition in mixed martial arts.
Following his win at UFC 15, Kerr then made his way to Japan, where he began competing in PRIDE Fighting Championships. He didn’t taste his first defeat until 2000, when he fell to Kazuyuki Fujita.
Kerr’s life was the subject of a popular 2003 HBO documentary titled “The Smashing Machine” that followed him while he competed in PRIDE. The film also shed light on an addiction to prescription painkillers.
“I think what’s interesting about Mark Kerr’s story is, yes, he achieved so much in his life, (and) he was a ‘Smashing Machine,’ undefeated for a long time,” Johnson said when speaking about the project. “But also like all of us and like a lot of these fighters, he battled these demons. These demons of addiction, these demons of mental health, these demons of getting out and the pressure of fighting in front of 20, 30, 40, 50,000 people and what that does to somebody.
“So here’s a guy who has gone through it all and hit rock bottom, but the best part about Mark Kerr, like all of us in this room, and like these fighters by the way, all these warriors, everyday you get up, and you want to do a little bit better tomorrow than you did today.”
Johnson will play Kerr in the movie about his life, and the former UFC and PRIDE fighter will consult on the film during production.
There is no timetable for when Johnson will begin work on his biopic about Kerr. The former WWE superstar has an incredibly busy schedule with “Jumanji: The Next Level” opening next month and with Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” coming in July 2020.