Oleksandr Usyk set to portray PRIDE legend alongside ‘The Rock’ in Mark Kerr biopic

New unified heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk expects to rematch Tyson Fury in October, but first he’ll take on an acting role alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Usyk has joined the cast of The Smashing Machine, the upcoming biopic focusing on two-time UFC tournament champion Mark Kerr with Johnson leading the way as the troubled fighter, who struggled with drug addiction throughout his career. According to IMDB, Usyk is cast as PRIDE FC legend Igor Vovchanchyn, who defeated Kerr back in 1999 before the results of the fight were overturned due to illegal knee strikes leading to the finish.

Vovchanchyn was a mainstay throughout the rise of PRIDE, where he clashed with some of the best heavyweights in the sport.

Usyk joins a growing cast that includes Academy Award nominee Emily Blunt, who plays Kerr’s longtime girlfriend and now ex-wife Dawn Staples, as well as Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, who portrays UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman.

The Smashing Machine is based upon a 2002 documentary of the same name that followed Kerr during a comeback attempt while he was competing in PRIDE. The film showed Kerr’s struggles with drug addiction, particularly with pain medication, as he attempted to resurrect his career in Japan.

Ultimately, Kerr’s struggles continued and it was Coleman — his friend and mentor — who went onto become the first ever PRIDE Grand Prix champion after knocking out Vovchanchyn in the finals back in 2000.

The upcoming film is being produced by independent studio A24 with Benny Safdie directing in his first solo project after previously partnering with his brother Josh Safdie on films like Uncut Gems, which starred Adam Sandler.

Production on The Smashing Machine is already underway, with the film expected to land in theaters sometime in 2025.

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