WWE star John Cena sat down with the ID10T with Chris Hardwick podcast to talk about pro wrestling and his role in the recently released film The Suicide Squad. Cena plays Peacemaker in the film, and he detailed how he got the part, meeting with director James Gunn and the development of the spinoff series Peacemaker, also starring Cena.
“He (Gunn) probably had some other names in mind for Peacemaker, and the bench might’ve gotten a little thin,” Cena said. “But whatever he saw in me he was like ‘okay, maybe this guy will work.’ We had to meet really quickly. He does do his due diligence in casting and I got to hand that to him. We met, we (have) a lot of the same philosophies, we shared some common ground. I was super impressed by how prepared he is and how professional he is. He had the whole movie storyboarded on his office, because he just some time on his hands. We kind of kicked it off from there.
“We had a bunch of fun shooting. He let me adlib so much, and none of it made the movie, but he just let me have fun. And I think a lot of it was to create an environment where I was more relaxed, to give him more of a genuine product in the end. And he’s like ‘man I really enjoyed working with you. I’ve had some time with my own thoughts and I wrote these eight episodes. Is this something you’d want to do?’ I said ‘of course it is man.’ It was completely like ‘and I’ve only got so much time to do it because I’m going off to do Guardians of the Galaxy 3. So lie we’ve got to do it now, are you in or out?’ I was like ‘alright, let’s do it.'”
Cena of course recently returned to WWE to challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship on Saturday, August 21 in Las Vegas. Cena described WWE as a brand new world with new challenges, chief among them whether or not he can still compete at a high level.
“Returning to WWE, it’s a brand new world,” Cena said. “A new cast of characters, new direction with the company, new platforms, new environment. There is a challenge there, to challenge myself as a 44 year old to go back, there is an Intrinsic challenge there, a set of circumstances. That’s a good challenge in many ways. My body could tell me after this extended stay that like ‘dude, you’re done’. Or it could tell me ‘you’re so far from done it’s crazy.’
“That’s another interesting conversation with myself. If physically, I’m slower, I’ve said openly to everyone that I will keep doing this until I feel I’m offending the customer. I will continually go out there and do what I can and contribute and add. I don’t want to go out there and be like ‘okay, just let him go out there and do his thing.’ I’m not into that because I know what it’s like to pay for a ticket. If I were to get that on this go-round, it’s a humbling and tough thing that I will have to hurdle. If I get the opposite like ‘dude you’re quicker and can do some things better and define a new personality,’ well then that’s a new conversation. Because I do not have much time left and if I want to give it like ‘well you know what? let’s really commit to this thing and really go all in.’ That’s an honest choice where other stuff will have to take a backseat to. So that’s an interesting example of a challenge, of something that I love and have dedicated my life to and am passionate about.”
Cena’s stay in WWE will not be long, as he has several other projects lined up both this month and heading into the fall. He did however reveal that he asked to do more dates than WWE initially offered, both to get himself up to speed and to help get WWE’s brand kickstarted again following a year without crowds.
“So currently the WWE was more than welcome to have me back for like a months worth of touring,” Cena said. “Suicide Squad comes out August 6. They just dropped a trailer for Vacation Friends on Hulu, which is like a vacation style comedy. That’ll be at the end of August. I’ll be heading over to the UK in a little bit to film Argyle with Matthew Vaughn and his team. We’re going to eventually film more episodes of Wipe Out, which I’m excited about. The show was a good success for TBS. And in between all of that I’ll do my best to find balance and after that I don’t know what’s going on. We’ll see after that.
“When WWE wants you to come back, they asked me to come back for only a few dates. I was like ‘no, I want to do all these dates.’ To one, get back in front of an audience, two to help the brand get audiences back in the building. And then when you offer all these dates, someone may say ‘well what about this? What about that, now that you’re in? I know that you may have some time.’ ‘No, these are my expectations. This is the best I can do with the best I can give you.’ And even then on the days of the events, ‘well we’re going to need you to do x, y and z.’ I understand that’s what you need, but realistically this is what I can give, and still feel that I can function in a capacity that could be entertaining. And WWE’s merely one example.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ID10T with Chris Hardwick and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription