You have to admire John Cena’s determination to hit it big in the acting business, as he looks to follow in Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista’s footsteps by making a seamless transition from the squared circle to the silver screen. Already a millionaire countless times over, the 43 year-old comfortably reigned as the biggest star in professional wrestling for over a decade and could have easily remained the industry’s main draw, but instead decided to make the jump towards Hollywood.
2021 is poised to be the breakout year of Cena’s acting career, too, as he plays the villain in Fast & Furious 9 and lends support as Peacemaker in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, the latter of which is also getting a spinoff series on HBO Max. The last time a former grappler joined the Fast franchise, it coincided with a massive increase in critical acclaim and box office takings, so you would completely understand if Cena might be feeling the pressure.
MORE FROM THE WEB
Not only that, but many of the core cast members have worked closely together for almost two decades now, and in a recent interview, he admitted that he found there to be more than a few similarities between joining such a close-knit group of actors and walking into the WWE locker room as a rookie wrestler.
“Movies are kind of like summer camp where you meet people for the first time, you establish relationships and you move on. Fast is different, because literally it’s been 20 years in the making. So walking into the set of Fast was very similar to walking into the WWE locker room. You have guys, men and women, who risk their lives for a living and have curated this experience that they’re very proud of. So when we get a newcomer to walk in, you can’t help it but go, ‘Man I hope this person works out because I’m killing myself for this’. And I’m geeked out on Fast. I’m looking at Dom Toretto like ‘oh my god!’. And not just him, bro, everybody was like, ‘Yo, what’s up with the new kid’. I felt just as much pressure as my first month on the road in WWE.”
Playing the villain in a Fast & Furious movie can often be a thankless task, with many of the franchise’s antagonists being one-dimensional characters that exist solely to deliver exposition and lose handily to the intrepid band of heroes, but the footage we’ve seen so far makes it look as though Cena’s Jakob Toretto will be a much more hands-on adversary in the vein of Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, rather than someone like Joaquim de Almeida’s thinly drawn corrupt businessman from the fifth installment.