While he hasn’t achieved (or, thus far, necessarily sought) the same level of mainstream crossover stardom as fellow pro-wrestling superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena has headlined feature films like The Marine and delivered memorable supporting turns in comedies like Trainwreck. He’s also quietly built a portfolio as a voice-actor, appearing in several animated crossovers between WWE and Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters and as the voice of Ernie the Elephant in commercials for Wonderful Pistachios.
Now, the popular athlete/spokesperson has lent his voice to the titular role of Ferdinand, the upcoming animated feature film from Blue Sky Studios (The Peanuts Movie and the Ice Age franchise). Cena’s Ferdinand is a pacifist bull mistakenly drafted into the world of Spanish bullfighting. The film is currently scheduled as one of 20th Century Fox’s main Holiday 2017 family releases opposite Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi from Disney/Lucasfilm.
The debut trailer for the upcoming film has just been released online by Fox, and can be watched above. The film is an expanded-adaptation of “The Story of Ferdinand,” a 1936 children’s book by Munro Leaf and illustrator Robert Lawson.
In the book, Ferdinand is a gentle bull who prefers admiring flowers in his meadow rather than the rough play preferred by the other bulls. When he becomes briefly agitated by a bee sting, he’s mistaken for a “mad bull” and sent to a bullfighting ring in Madrid, but his peaceful nature is recognized and he is ultimately spared. It became the best-selling new book in the U.S. in its first year (narrowly outselling Gone With The Wind) and was banned by both Francisco Franco’s Spain and Adolf Hitler’s Germany as suspected pacifist, communist or democratic propaganda. In 1938, a Walt Disney-produced animated version won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.
David Tennant, Anthony Anderson, Daveed Diggs, and Kate McKinnon also star, with Carlos Saldanha directing. Cena will next be seen in the Iraq War military drama The Wall and is expected to reprise his supporting role in the sequel to Daddy’s Home. He’s also attached to The Pact, a dark comedy from director Kay Cannon (Girlboss, Pitch Perfect) about three fathers who attempt to sabotage their daughters’ prom night plans after discovering that the girls have all pledged to lose their virginity by the end of the evening. He is also scheduled to wrestle at this Sunday’s WrestleMania 33 event alongside partner Nikki Bella in a couples tag-team match against Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and wife Maryse Ouellet.
Ferdinand debuts in theaters December 15, 2017.
Source: 20th Century Fox