Dwayne Johnson’s The Smashing Machine Starts Multi-Country Filming in May

The filming of Dwayne Johnson-starrer biographical film ‘The Smashing Machine’ will start on May 21 in Vancouver, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and Tokyo, Japan. The production is slated to conclude by August 1. Benny Safdie is directing the movie based on his screenplay, with Emily Blunt in talks to star alongside Johnson.

The film revolves around Mark Kerr, the legendary MMA fighter from the no-holds-barred era of the UFC, at the peak of his career. He struggles with addiction, winning, love, and friendship in the year 2000. The narrative also focuses on Kerr’s wife Dawn Staples, who, while trying to set up a new life together with the fighter, struggles to find her place within his chaotic and contradictory world.

The project marks Benny’s first feature as a solo director. The filmmaker helmed acclaimed films such as ‘Heaven Knows What,’ Robert Pattinson-starrer ‘Good Time,’ and Adam Sandler-starrer ‘Uncut Gems’ with his brother Josh Safdie. He created Showtime’s satirical black comedy series ‘The Curse’ with Nathan Fielder as well. The filmmaker also portrayed Dougie Schecter in the show alongside Fielder and Emma Stone.

Johnson has been engaged in the production of Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated film ‘Moana.’ The actor completed shooting Jake Kasdan’s action comedy ‘Red One,’ also starring Chris Evans and J.K. Simmons. The wrestler recently returned to WWE as a heel version of The Rock. His recent credits include NBC’s sitcom ‘Young Rock,’ ‘Black Adam,’ and Netflix’s ‘Red Notice.’ Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks is producing the movie along with Benny’s Out for the Count, Eli Bush, and David Koplan.

If Blunt joins the film, it will mark her reunion with Johnson since Disney’s adventure movie ‘Jungle Cruise,’ and with Benny since Christopher Nolan’s biographical drama ‘Oppenheimer,’ in which the filmmaker played Edward Teller. The actress is nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Kitty Oppenheimer in ‘Oppenheimer.’ Her recent credits also include Liza Drake in Netflix’s ‘Pain Hustlers’ and Cornelia Locke in the limited series ‘The English.’

The project marks Benny and the production company A24’s continuing collaboration. “Dwayne and Benny are singular talents, and their shared vision for Mark’s inspiring story is electrifying. We are deeply honored to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life,” said Noah Sacco of A24.

Vancouver previously hosted the shooting of CBS’ ‘Tracker’ and Hulu’s ‘Death and Other Details.’ Los Angeles is a significant location of FX/Hulu’s ‘Feud’ and Netflix’s ‘Griselda.’ Benny is returning to New Mexico after shooting ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘The Curse’ in the city. Tokyo has served as a backdrop for popular Hollywood productions such as Max’s crime drama series ‘Tokyo Vice’ and Gareth Edwards’ Academy Award-nominated ‘The Creator.’

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