Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson set to portray UFC champ Mark Kerr in biopic
Amongst the many blockbuster projects he already has set for the future, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has found another smaller-scale project in the form of a biopic surrounding MMA and UFC champ Mark Kerr, according to Variety.
The film was announced by Johnson at a surprise press conference at Madison Square Garden while there for a guest presenter appearance for UFC 244 main event of Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal at which he will wrap the “BMF” title around the waist of the winner. In addition to starring in the project, Johnson will produce the project through his banner Seven Bucks Productions alongside Dany and Hiram Garcia and frequent collaborate Beau Flynn.
Kerr, who is also known by the nicknames The Smashing Machine, The Titan and The Specimen, is a two-time UFC champion and was regarded as the best MMA fighter in the world during his career and was previously the subject of a 2002 HBO documentary entitled The Smashing Machine that chronicled his life, career, romantic relationships and struggles with his addictions to painkillers. The latter element would mark an interesting return for Johnson, who previously explored a character dealing with the same struggles on HBO’s Ballers.
“Mark Kerr’s story is such an incredible story,” Johnson said. “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 50,000 people and what that does to somebody. Here’s a guy who has gone through it all, hit rock bottom, but the best part about Mark Kerr is that, like all of us in this room and all these fighters, these warriors, is that everyday, we get up and we want to do a little bit better tomorrow than we did today.”
The 47-year-old actor announced he had spoken to Kerr prior to the announcement at the UFC weigh-in at Madison Square Garden, with the former fighter feeling “overwhelmed that this is happening” and that “he trusts me with his life and with his story.”
“The guy was a beast and he was dominant and there was only one like him at that time,” Johnson continued. “When you think about these fighters, there is no other sport like MMA — the multiple disciplines and the pressure and the fact that you put your life on the line, literally, every time you step in the cage — and if you dig a little deeper than the physicality that they have, there’s a real character of depth to a lot of these warriors, and Mark is one of them.”
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