Dwayne Johnson Taking on Most Dramatic Role Yet in Biopic of UFC Fighter Mark Kerr

Universal Pictures

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will soon be flexing his acting chops in a biopic on Mark Kerr, an MMA fighter and UFC champ who’s had quite the ups and downs in life.

Johnson, who’s gone from WWE pro wrestler to global movie superstar, made the announcement at a surprise press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Johnson was at the Garden as a guest presenter for the UFC 244, where the main event saw Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal going head to head for the “Bad Motherf****r Belt” (Masvidal ended up beating Diaz by third-round TKO via cut stoppage).

Kerr is a two-time UFC heavyweight champ and is regarded as one of the very best MMA fighers. While his athletic career saw some very big highs, outside the ring Kerr experienced some extreme lows, including a big battle with drug abuse. 2002 documentary The Smashing Machine looked at Kerr’s life and the harsh side of his fighting career (check out the trailer for the doco below).

“Mark Kerr’s story is such an incredible story,” Variety quotes Johnson as saying at Madison Square Garden.

“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.”

Johnson’s film career has been mostly built on mainstream franchises, action movies and comedies, so this potentially ‘prestige picture’ move certainly marks a change of pace. That being said, Johnson has put in somewhat dramatic work before, in films such as Snitch and particularly in his HBO series Ballers.

When asked as to what has attracted him to the meaty part, Johnson said: “It’s a dramatic role, but Mark lives a dramatic life. It’s an opportunity to shine a light on one of our warriors, who not only deserves it, but who has such universal appeal and a universal story.”

It’s still early on the project and no director or writer has been announced, nor is there a studio attached as yet. Johnson will be producing the film via his Seven Bucks Productions banner, along with Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Beau Flynn.

As usual, Johnson his a very busy slate. His next big-screen outing will be Jumanji: The Next Level, followed by Disney’s Jungle Cruise, and then Netflix’s big-budget heist film Red Notice (also starring Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds).

Here’s a look at the trailer for Kerr documentary The Smashing Machine, which can give you an idea of what Johnson could be taking to the screen:

Universal Pictures

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