If Dwayne Johnson‘s path from WWE sensation to moviestar serves as the blueprint for other pro wrestlers, John Cena must have it framed on his wall. The forty-two year old actor’s first role was in 2006’s THE MARINE where he played – well – a marine, facing a ruthless gang of criminals who kidnap his wife. Cena continued down the action path starring in films like 12 ROUNDS and BUMBLEBEE. He’s also become quite adept at comedy with breakout humorous roles in TRAINWRECK and BLOCKERS.
With Cena’s large muscular frame and even larger personality, it was only a matter of time before the Massachusetts native was cast in a superhero film. That opportunity finally came knocking when WB decided to re-imagine DC’s most notorious “worst of the worst” in the upcoming THE SUICIDE SQUAD. Although rumors have the former wrestling champion playing superhero pacifist diplomat Peacemaker, his role is as yet unconfirmed. What is confirmed is Cena’s unbridled admiration of the film’s director James Gunn. Cena was “blown away” by Gunn, his vision, and his natural storytelling ability:
“I was blown away. The first 10 pages [are] like a movie in itself. It’s really, really special. That’s because the guy steering the ship [Gunn] is committed to narrative and committed to creating characters that we connect with and sending them on an awesome journey. I mean what he did with [Guardians of the Galaxy] is really special. When I watch Guardians, immediately I’m connected to these people and I walk away with a certain takeaway from that movie. It has nothing to do with the preconceived notions of the comic book characters. I watched the movie for the movie and I enjoy it. I’m also a storyteller at heart. I got to go out there on a nightly basis in WWE and entertain Birmingham, Alabama and make them want to believe that they want to see a WWE title switch or that so-and-so hates so-and-so or whatever story we’re trying to put together for that night. So I tip my cap to a great storyteller. James is a writer and a developer and he has great vision. You want go to work with people who jump out of bed every day and want to go to work. [Gunn] is the epitome of that. He cares so much about what he’s doing and I think especially when he’s put in a position to write, develop, and do this by his rules essentially.”
Damn. I mean there’s praise and then there’s praise. Cena is downright effusive in his words.
I really have to respect Cena’s words here. Sometimes people get the impression that James Gunn is just the guy who created that cool space adventure with the talking raccoon. I’ll admit I had negative preconceived notions going into THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY but was completely blown away by the narrative heft and the emotional resonance of the film. That first ten minutes is a complete and total gut punch and really hit home considering my Mom was battling cancer at the time. Gunn recognizes that comicbook films can transcend the negative stereotypes of the genre. He’s also quite adept at drawing out the best from his actors. Anyone who’s seen Chris Pratt‘s performance as Peter Quill recognizes this. I also find it encouraging that WB is giving Gunn a lot of free reign on THE SUICIDE SQUAD. It sounds like this is his baby.
What fascinates me as well is that it seems like John Cena‘s found a kindred storyteller spirit in James Gunn. As Cena points out he’s a storyteller too even if those stories are in a different medium. While WWE storylines typically consist of melodrama and bombast, that doesn’t mean they can’t be captivating and entertaining. Anyone who’s followed the WWE over the years can attest to this. It makes me wonder how much Cena and Gunn collaborated on Cena’s character and if Gunn was open to Cena’s suggestions. Considering James Gunn‘s degree of focus, commitment, and attention to detail, I’d say it’s a safe bet.
So what do you guys think of John Cena‘s comments? Are you excited for THE SUICIDE SQUAD? What character do you think Cena will play? Sound off in the comments below!