What The Real Mark Kerr Looks Like Versus The Rock In 'The Smashing Machine' Biopic

A24 has released the first glimpse of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as UFC fighter Mark Kerr in the upcoming biopic "The Smashing Machine," and the WWE star has undergone a major transformation for the role. The movie, directed by Benny Safdie, will tell Kerr's story as he rises from a top-level collegiate wrestler to UFC competitor, dealing with various personal struggles along the way. In order to bring the story to life, Johnson will be wearing a wig, heavy makeup, and possibly prosthetics to bring his likeness closer to Kerr's, but just how close did the production get?


As opposed to "The Iron Claw," which didn't place too much emphasis on faithfully recreating the real-life looks of its characters, Johnson looks remarkably like Kerr in the "Smashing Machine" still frame. Comparing Johnson's look to a photo of Kerr from 1997, around the time he transitioned to MMA, the resemblance is striking, from the curly hair to the shape of the men's eyes to the angles of their faces. Additionally, Johnson's jawline has been noticeably altered to bring the bottom half of his face more in line with Kerr's.

Both Kerr and Johnson are around the same height, with Kerr measuring out to 6 feet and 3 inches in real life while Johnson is two inches taller. The two were also of similar builds, meaning Johnson didn't need to undergo too much alteration below his neck, apart from covering up the former WWE Champion's many tattoos.


Though Johnson will be playing Kerr when the real life fighter was around the age of 30, the two men are actually only three years apart in reality. Still, the hair and makeup crew for "The Smashing Machine" have worked hard transforming Johnson's well-known face, which should make it easier to buy into the WWE star as Kerr.

Mark Kerr's Journey From NCAA Wrestler To UFC Fighter

The upcoming film's dedication to bringing a faithful representation of Kerr to life makes some sense, as "The Smashing Machine" is based upon a 2002 HBO documentary with the same title. In it, Kerr fights to balance his MMA career while dealing with a substance addiction that eventually sent him to rehab.


The real Kerr was born in Toledo, Ohio, in December 1968, with his family moving to Iowa for some time before returning to his hometown. The future UFC performer attended Syracuse University in New York, becoming the Division I champion and spending the first half of the 1990s collecting different accolades. After failing to make the Olympic wrestling team in 1996, Kerr began the transition to mixed martial arts, competing in Brazil before earning an invitation to the Heavyweight tournament at UFC 14.

Kerr won that tournament, as well as the following tournament at UFC 15, bringing his final UFC record to 4-0. After that, Kerr decided to begin competing for Pride Fighting Championships in Japan, where he spent most of the rest of his career.


The upcoming role in "The Smashing Machine" is set to be a significant one for Johnson, as it marks his first foray into dramatic leading man territory. Johnson's choice to star as Kerr makes sense due to the similarities between MMA fighters and professional wrestlers. If Johnson can be convincing enough as the troubled fighter, it could lead to more dramatic avenues within his career following the disappointment of 2022's "Black Adam."

Apart from a pair of brief cameos, last year saw Johnson take a break from film acting, though he did appear in the final season of "Young Rock." Meanwhile, The Rock made his return to WWE earlier this year, taking a role on the TKO Board of Directors while also building to a match at WWE WrestleMania 40 in April.