Dwayne Johnson parlayed a successful wrestling career as The Rock into an equally successful acting career. But his affinity for combat sports hasn’t diminished, as he’s on board to play renowned but controversial UFC fighter Mark Kerr in a biopic. Johnson will also produce through his Seven Bucks production company.
Kerr battled many personal demons in addition to his foes in the ring, many of which were highlighted in HBO’s 2002 documentary The Smashing Machine. He had a tumultuous, on-and-off-again relationship that consumed his personal life, while he bruised and battered his body inside the octagon. He also struggled with opiate addiction and sobriety, including overdosing at one point.
Despite his unique physique and past wrestling career, Johnson has rarely used those skills to play similar characters in sports-related movies. This is a fascinating step away from his usual roles, which are often in action-heavy crowd-pleasers such as the Fast & Furious or Jumanji franchise.
Considering he’s producing as well, this might be Johnson signalling a slight career shift into darker, more prestigious roles. Don’t expect him to totally step away from the blockbusters that offer the biggest paycheques, but perhaps we’ll see a different side to the charismatic, muscle-bound actor more often in the future.
This isn’t the first fighting-based film Johnson has been involved in though. He recently produced (and cameoed in) Fighting With My Family, which revolved around former WWE wrestler Paige and her attempts to make it from her small town in Norwich to the big leagues of the WWE. It was well received, and perhaps that reception led to Johnson planning this project.
No other details have been released regarding the film. A director, writer and co-stars will be announced down the line.