Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? For the last decade-plus (at least post-Pain & Gain), Dwayne Johnson has been serving up four-quadrant blockbuster slop. Thankfully, he seems to be turning a new direction for The Smashing Machine, which marks the solo directorial feature debut for Benny Safdie after parting ways with his brother Josh Safdie, who’ll be going on to make his forthcoming Adam Sandler-led movie about the baseball trading card industry.

As for The Smashing Machine, with A24 kicking off production recently the first image has now dropped. The film, which marks a Jungle Cruise reunion for Johnson and Emily Blunt, captures the story of legendary MMA fighter Mark Kerr, who was afflicted with addiction and a rocky marriage with Dawn Staples (Blunt).

“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,” Johnson told Variety. 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.”

See the first image below ahead of a likely 2025 release.

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