WWE superstar John Cena and Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani are set to partner up in an untitled buddy cop comedy from director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and Universal Pictures. Both actors have seen their respective profiles in the film industry grow in recent years. Cena has appeared in a handful of comedy hits such as Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home, while Nanjiani is coming off of the acclaimed rom-com The Big Sick (which he co-wrote with his wife Emily V. Gordon. in addition to starring in). In the early part of this year’s awards season, there is talk he could receive an Oscar nomination for his screenplay.
It doesn’t look like either will be slowing down anytime soon. Nanjiani will be seen in a fifth season of Silicon Valley, which will premiere in 2018. Cena, in the meantime, is set to headline the Bumblebee spinoff in the burgeoning Transformers cinematic universe, attempting to become the next great Hollywood action star. As fate would have it, Nanjiani and Cena are going to cross paths at some point in the future, seeing that they’ve signed on for a new buddy cop comedy.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, who say that Fleischer will also produce alongside David Bernad and Murray Miller. Miller, whose career résumé also includes HBO’s Tour de Pharmacy and Girls, is locked in to write the script. No plot details are available at this time, but judging from the genre’s history, it will most likely involve two mismatched partners (Cena and Nanjiani) who work together on a case and form a bond. Hopefully there’s more to it than that, so the project can take advantage of its leads’ talents and not fall into formula.
While the prospect of seeing Nanjiani and Cena team up has the potential for gut-busting laughs, fans of the two may have to wait a while before seeing this film come into fruition. Fleischer is going to call the shots on Sony’s Venom movie starring Tom Hardy, which is set for release in October 2018. He likely won’t be able to turn his attention to the buddy cop movie until Venom is complete, meaning the Nanjiani/Cena partnering probably won’t reach theaters until 2019 at the earliest. This is all fine and well, since Cena is still in the midst of principal photography on Bumblebee and won’t be free until the spinoff wraps.
A staple of 1980s action cinema, the buddy cop comedy has experienced its fair share of ups and downs in the last handful of years. For every hit like 21 Jump Street, there’s a bomb such as CHIPS that shows the genre could be running out of steam. Hopefully, the pairing of Nanjiani and Cena will be successful. The pieces are certainly in place for a fun and hilarious adventure, especially with Fleischer calling the shots. Zombieland is seen as one of the better comedies of the 2000s, so hopefully he can work his magic again and illustrate there’s still life in a classic premise.
We’ll keep you updated on the John Cena/Kumail Nanjiani buddy cop comedy as more information becomes available.
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