Why Starring in an A24 Film is the Perfect Career Move for Dwayne Johnson

Starring in an A24 Film is the Perfect Career Move for Dwayne Johnson

Exciting news in the film industry keeps churning out this award season, with the news breaking yesterday that Ben Safdie is set to direct none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in a movie about the life of MMA legend Mark Kerr.

The film’s title goes by The Smashing Machine, and it’s about Kerr’s life in the early 2000’s, in and out of the ring. There has been no release date set, but the news of this is rather exciting for one reason: this film, although it sounds in line with a world similar to the one that The Rock came up in, may also really stretch his acting chops.

On the one hand, The Rock has had quite a decade. From his appearance in the last handful of Fast and Furious movies that date all the way back to Fast 5 in 2011, to blockbuster after blockbuster, some met with scattered reviews, from incredibly bad to exciting fun films. There is no doubt that The Rock is a bankable star.

At one point, he was doing three films a year plus a HBO TV show (Ballers) that also paralleled some part of his life as an aspiring football player who never turned pro.

Polarizing Moves

On the other hand, it’s time for the former eight-time WWE champion to pivot a bit in his career. The tail end of 2022 was not kind to him. The fallout from Black Adam and his attempt at putting the DCEU on his back and saving it proved polarizing, and some found his attempt at taking control of the shared universe a sign of his hubris. Others just didn’t care for the movie and moved on with their lives.

Then in 2023, the Hawaii Wildfires Charity that he opened with Oprah received a lot of backlash due to many people thinking, “I’m poor; why don’t you donate your millions of dollars to save Hawaii?” The point here is that The Rock hasn’t had a steady past few months in the world of Hollywood.

However, if you pay attention to his Instagram, you’ll see that his other ventures are doing just fine with XFL and USFL merging; his tequila and energy drink brands are big. But oddly, he’s due for a revamped image on the big screen.

A New Direction

Enter actor and director Ben Safdie. He and his brother Josh have directed two films that have also had their lead actors benefit a lot from them. Good Time was a movie that assisted with presenting Robert Pattison in a new light to audiences and had him shed the Twilight image he once carried for many years. And of course, look what they did with Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems.

The Safdies play to their lead actors strengths while putting them in a new cinematic world we haven’t seen them in before. What a perfect time for The Rock to try new things in the world of movies!

Ben Safdie is flying solo on directing duties on this film with The Rock, and Johnson’s producing partner Dany Garcia will have their Seven Bucks Production banner on the film. The Smashing Machine comes at a perfect time for the economics of Hollywood.

Bold Step Forward

The big-budget, CGI-loaded films are starting to become a thing of the past, it seems; they don’t hold as much clout as they once did in the 2010’s. Therefore, budgets will drop but not dwindle completely. That is where A24 comes in as a producing partner and financier on the film, as they have openly expressed stepping into bigger-budget movies. And with that, why not capitalize on utilizing one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood?

Seriously, this has been an idea looming in the back of people’s minds since movies like Skyscraper and Rampage hit theaters. “When is The Rock going to do some art house drama?” Well, here you have it. It may be in the vein of a world he’s used to, but it will be in the style of a somewhat auteur filmmaker.

What do you guys think? Is this the right move for Dwayne Johnson? What’s been your favourite movie he’s starred in? Let us know in the comments below!

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