Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Emily Blunt in Talks to Join Dwayne Johnson in THE SMASHING MACHINE

Emily Blunt in Talks to Join Dwayne Johnson in THE SMASHING MACHINE

Oscar-nominee Emily Blunt is in negotiations to reteam with "Jungle Cruise" co-star Dwayne Johnson for A24's upcoming film "The Smashing Machine". The biopic chronicles the story of legendary MMA and UFC champion Mark Kerr at the peak of his career, as he struggled with addiction, winning, love and friendship in the year 2000. Kerr was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion and World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner. Over the course of his career, he won over two dozen MMA titles.

The film is directed by Benny Safdie, who rose to fame with his brother Josh as the co-director of the acclaimed thrillers "Uncut Gems" and "Good Time". This will be Safdie's first solo project.

Johnson will star as Kerr, while Blunt is in talks to play Dawn Staples, Kerr's wife. According to the studio, "While trying to set up a new life together, Dawn struggles to find her place within Mark’s chaotic and contradictory world".

Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia's Seven Bucks Productions will produce alongside Safdie's Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.

Johnson and Safdie started the project in 2019, when the actor acquired the rights, but fell out of touch and put the film on hold due to the pandemic. Years later, on a phone call with Blunt, Johnson opened up to her about his desire to reconnect with the project and play Kerr. After watching the 2002 HBO documentary "The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr", Blunt encouraged Johnson: "You must make this movie". Blunt and Safdie worked together recently on the set of "Oppenheimer", and Johnson's name came up, prompting Safdie to reconnect with the actor and resume work on the project.

In a recent interview, Johnson said the following: "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 times uncomfortable and arresting. I’m at a point in my career where I want to push myself in ways 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.".


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