John Cena first showed his acting skills and charisma in professional wrestling. He has displayed his wide range by doing everything from action movies like The Marine to comedies like Blockers. His latest role as Jack Burns in Bumblebee, a spinoff of the Transformers films, uses both his action and comedy skills.
Screen Rant: John, this movie took me right back to being a kid. And it's crazy how much aesthetics with just the Transformers can just bring you back to that world.
John Cena: I agree. And when I see Travis, or you see him, thank him for that. Those are all choices from him. So, that's a really cool thing to say.
Screen Rant: I love you in this role too, as Burns, because you do have, your comedic chops show here, but also you have this seriousness about you, because you're a military guy. So, how does Burns view Bumblebee and the Transformers, I guess, invasion, if you will?
John Cena Well, hearkening back to the first meeting in the movie, it's confrontational. And as a soldier and a protector, his job is to eliminate the threat. He seen these things up close. He has knowledge no one else has. So, his opinion is eliminate the threat. And every other meeting he has with the Decepticons, including their name, he views this like, “Why don't you guys see these things are bad?” I'm going to throw everything I’ve got to stop them. So, it's great to see his character through the movie, be open minded enough to absorb information. Because that leads to a nice little subplot in the movie. But his job is to eliminate threat.
Screen Rant: Now this movie takes place in 1987, which is a great throwback. Did you ever study maybe past action stars of the eighties in order to inform your performance here? Or was this is all from you.
John Cena: So, cool thing about that. I was a huge fan of eighties action movies. But you want to talk about how far we've come, and we still have a ways to go, but there's a great step in the evolution of telling stories and how we define strong and brave. You shoot this movie in the eighties, you're talking to the hero [referring to himself].
Screen Rant: Exactly.
John Cena: And now you're talking to the bad guy, who has all the personality traits of an 80’s hero. So, I really think it's awesome to have a powerful strong movie with a young female lead. It gives us a chance to tell better stories as performers and storytellers. And to take that perception of tough, and make it a misunderstood bad guy, or an ignorant bad guy. So, that was a really cool thing.
Screen Rant: That's awesome. Now I have a fan theory. Now you can either confirm or deny it. Now this is a soft reboot of the Transformers franchise, a soft reboot. I have a theory that your character is also, this a soft reboot of G.I. Joe, and you can be Duke. Am I right?
John Cena: Promote that man. As like a geek of those universes colliding, I think that is a tremendous idea. But once again, we are the lowlies. All we can do is use our voice, make this movie, and hopefully the people making the movie, or fans, could agree with us or disagree. If it's not me, and I'm very thankful for the kind words, I just think these two franchises have so many connections. And in a world of universes colliding, I think this is a perfect match. Whether I'm in it or not, I hope to see it.
Screen Rant: You're my Duke, now. Also, talk to me about Travis Knight and his direction. Because he obviously changed the aesthetic of these to be from my generation essentially.
John Cena: Bold choices, a risk taker. I think he knew the pressures he had going into this. The franchise was defined a certain way and it was really tough to redefine that. We had to start marketing the long lead, because he knew he had all these aces in his back pocket. A choice to make Bumblebee look beat up, a choice to make him a Beetle, a lovable, peaceful, reliable car. Like, you can't help but feel for the car.
And then when Bee changes, he looks so human, Gen 1. But look at his eyes in the hero poster. That's not a bad ass hero. That's, “What the hell's going on?!” You know, like that's, there's a difference there. And that makes the relationship powerful. That makes you want to root for Bee, which makes you feel like a kid again.
Screen Rant: Absolutely. Well, congratulations on the film, John. This is amazing. You guys knocked it out the park. Exactly what I wanted from Transformers.
John Cena: Oh, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Thank you so much. Great theory.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018