A24 just released the first look at Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr in Benny Safdie's The Smashing Machine on X (formerly Twitter).

The Rock is almost unrecognizable in the image as the legendary MMA fighter, co-starring Emily Blunt, his partner in 2021's Jungle Cruise. Kerr struggled with addiction as well as his marriage all the while trying to be the best in his sport, Variety reported. Blunt plays Dawn Staples, Kerr's wife.

The typically ripped Johnson appears to be wearing facial prosthetics to make him look more like the fighter. Kerr won the UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion twice, in 1997 and 1998, and the World Vale Tudo Championship also in 1997. He won more than two dozen MMA titles in his 12-year career.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson transforms into The Smashing Machine

Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, and Benny Safdie.

The Smashing Machine is Safdie's solo feature directorial debut. He worked with his brother Josh on A24's indies such as 2017's Good Time and 2019's Uncut Gems. Benny also acted with Blunt in Christopher Nolan's Academy Award winning biopic Oppenheimer as the father of the hydrogen bomb Edward Teller.

Johnson and Safdie first spoke about the project in 2019. The two fell out of touch and the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Years later, Blunt told The Rock about having watched the 2002 documentary The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr. She told Johnson, “You must make this movie.”

The Rock told Variety in January said he was interested in “The Smashing Machine” because “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 time uncomfortable and arresting. I'm at a point in my career where I want to push myself in way 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 a humanity and explore struggle [and] pain.”

Johnson is also producing the film with Dany Garcia through their Seven Bucks Productions. Safdie also serves as producer under his Out for the Count Banner, along with Eli Bush and David Koplan.

Joining Blunt and Johnson are Ukrainian professional boxer Oleksandr Usyk and professional MMA fighter who play Kerr's contemporaries Igor Vovchanchyn and Mark Coleman, respectively.

The history of Mark Kerr

Kerr last fought in 2003 at the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships when he fought against Ricardo Arona. He lost the Superfight Championship to him. Kerr won it in 2001. In 2022, he was one of the first inaugural inductees into the ADCC Hall of Fame.

The fighter was known for his ability to end fights quickly. In the HBO documentary, from which the film takes its title, former professional fighter Bas Rutten said that during the PRIDE tournaments, directors removed all of Kerr's ‘weapons' or moves such as head-butts and knees to the head of an opponent on the ground in order to make the fights last longer for television and for the crowd.

The documentary was released 22 years ago and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Initially, its title was The Specimen after Kerr's original nickname. When HBO picked up the documentary, they changed the title to The Smashing Machine.