Dwayne Johnson Is Unrecognisable In Leaked Photos Of Oscar-Tipped MMA Biopic

Fans are genuinely stunned.

Dwayne Johnson Is Unrecognisable In Leaked Photos Of Oscar-Tipped MMA Biopic

Image: A24

Dwayne Johnson looks unrecognisable in recently released photos from The Smashing Machine, A24’s upcoming biopic on MMA fighter Mark Kerr.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has long been regarded as one of the most generousauthentic, and (obviously) jacked dudes in Hollywood, garnering the respect of co-stars and fans around the world. Even the threat of hydration-based cancellation appears incapable of slowing down the A-list actor who has bounded back to the top of our newsfeeds thanks to newly released images from his upcoming MMA biopic.

Now, ‘The Rock’ is set to seriously surprise fans with his latest transformation for the upcoming film The Smashing Machine, which some commentators are already tipping for award-season acclaim well ahead of its release. Photos from the set show the 52-year-old actor looking genuinely unrecognisable as he takes on the role of retired mixed martial artist Mark Kerr in A24’s highly anticipated biopic, slated for a 2025 release.

Johnson — who is half-Samoan and a quarter African-American — underwent a dramatic makeover to portray Kerr, who is of half-Irish, half-Puerto Rican descent. The challenge of depicting Kerr in his 20s and 30s — during his reign as a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion — was expertly managed by Kazu Hiro, the two-time Oscar-winning prosthetic make-up designer.

Image: A24

Hiro’s past transformations of Bradley Cooper in Maestro (yes, including the controversial nose…), Charlize Theron in Bombshell, and Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour have set a very high bar which already appears to have been surpassed.

The leaked stills have already sparked a lot of buzz on social media. Instagram user @brandondavisbd commented, “Give the makeup team the award now,” while @blizzchaiii added, “Yo the makeup team went crazy.” Another user, @caesarpf_, exclaimed, “WTFFFF The Rock with haiirrr!”

Mark Kerr, now 55, has been actively involved in Johnson’s preparation for the role. The former wrestler has been doing MMA training with Johnson, sharing invaluable insights and techniques that Johnson’s time in the, how do we put this, slightly less intense WWE may not have readied him for.

Johnson expressed his gratitude, saying this:

“[Kerr] is still a f***ing machine, that can close the distance with scary speed and power… I’ll forever be grateful for the invaluable knowledge he’s been gracious enough to pass onto me and especially for the brotherhood we share.”

Dwayne Johnson

Principal photography for The Smashing Machine began this week, with locations including Vancouver, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and Tokyo. The film is directed by Benny Safdie, making his solo feature directorial debut after a number of critical successes alongside brother Josh Safdie and, most recently, Nathan Fielder in TV hit The Curse.

The real-life Mark Kerr in his prime. Image: Getty

The film will also feature Emily Blunt as Dawn Staples, Kerr’s ex-wife, who had a tumultuous relationship with the fighter. The biopic also stars Lyndsey Gavin, Oleksandr Usyk, and Ryan Bader and is conceptually based on John Hyams’s 2002 HBO documentary of the same name.

As fans eagerly await The Smashing Machine, Johnson continues to stay busy with other projects, including the holiday action film Red One and the Disney sequel Moana 2. Say what you will about The Rock (and his inexplicable love of ‘pee bottles’), but one thing is for certain: the man’s got range.