John Cena sat down with Chris Van Vliet to promote his upcoming film Fast 9 and his film career. Having begun his film career with the WWE Studios film The Marine, Cena talked about his journey from that film, we called a ‘bad movie’, to films like Fast 9 and Trainwreck to his upcoming TV series Peacermaker.
“I mean if you look at it in that perspective, I started out doing movies as a business decision,” Cena said. “It was originally supposed to be Steve Austin but he passed. Vince was like ‘hey I need you to go to Australia.’ This is 2 weeks before shooting. He explained if we can bolster WWE studios, we will bolster WWE live event attendance. We can host larger venues and be more widespread. I’m like ‘this guy is onto something, lets go do this so I can get back to the ring.’ That’s the wrong approach to take, but I continued to take that approach to the movies that I did, and in turn I made a lot of bad movies. So now transfer that into WWE speak. This match would be good for the energy drink I’m trying to sell. If more people like the match more people will drink the energy drink. No, you have a match match because you f*cking loved to have those matches and you want to be there and be in the middle of it, look around at the majesty.
“So it wasn’t until honestly the Fred movies where I could parody myself and that was kind of the start of all that. And after that Trainwreck, where I could have fun with the process and expect nothing out of it. Fred was a cameo, Trainwreck was a cameo and I did a bunch of other small cameos where I stop looking at is as a vehicle and start to look at this as creative fun. The thing is I was looking at WWE like that all of the time. WWE is not a vehicle for me to go anywhere else, it was where I want to be. I then fell in love with falling into another character, taking the jorts off once in a while and showing my ass on television. It’s fun, it’s imaginative and it also keeps the passion for WWE. If they change my character heel or babyface or whatnot, it doesn’t matter because I have these other outlets I can express those emotions that I want to do. I had to change my perception and that came after tremendous failure. I thought after all those bad movies I was done. 15 years later I got a second chance at the movie business and we are talking about Fast 9. But that comes from absolute fall on your face failure.”
In Fast 9, Cena plays the brother of Vin Diesel’s Domenic Torretto character. Cena talked about how he bonded with Diesel prior to getting the role.
“Before I was even offered the part I had to go through a series of interviews,” Cena recalled. “Vin wanted to meet me in person, and I met him at his training center little under 2 hours and we just spoke. Now we have 8 minutes to do an interview and in this interview, we will learn more about each other. Now compound that over a serious amount of time with no constraints in an environment that is comfortable for Vin. He felt really good asking me bold questions and opening the forum for me to do the same. After that conversation he shot a small social media video. If you go back and see the video I didn’t say much, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Had I known I was joining the Fast family I would have said some sort of bit about Fast. But it was kind of him assessing me as a human being and putting it out to the universe like ‘Hey what do you guys think about this?’ I really thank everyone, WWE supporters, Fast supporters because they were overwhelmingly positive. I also thank Vin for that conversation. I really enjoy that type of earning your merits. It’s very very similar to the WWE. They assess your performance but they also do their due diligence on who this human being is.”
Much like WWE, filming an action movie like Fast 9 required Cena to shoot many physical scenes. When asked who made the decisions on when Cena or the stunt double did the stunts, Cena revealed that he left those decisions up to the filmmakers.
“That’s made by people above me and I never question it,” Cena said. “Because Fast is a production that uses a whole lot of resources. If we ever have to stop that production, we waste a whole lot of resources. The thing I was most amazed about Fast is the little that they waste on resources. It’s very vast and the scope is huge, but everything has meaning. They invest, but they invest properly and correctly. It’s very much like WWE, it’s a huge investment but you can see the return when you set up massive pyrotechnics or you turn a stadium into a beautiful LED display or digital display. That money is justified because as a consumer I’m entertained by it. So when they tell me ‘this might stop production, we are going to switch you out.’ I’m not like ‘no don’t’. I’m 44 man, I certainly have never been tough in my life, I don’t have to prove I’m tough. I’m not searching for validation on my masculinity or who I am as a human being. I really take the advice of those who know more than me. If they go ‘yo, you shouldn’t do this.’ I’m like, ‘ok great.'”
Finally Van Vliet made note to how well Cena dressed every time he had seen Cena recently. Naturally this led to Van Vliet asking when the last time Cena wore his trademark shorts was. Cena answered, and also revealed he looked forward to wearing the shorts again soon.
“The last time was not this WrestleMania but last WrestleMania,” Cena revealed. “I can tell you this, I very much look forward to wearing jorts again, it’s been too long.”
You can watch the interview below.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Insight With Chris Van Vliet and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription