If you’re one of millions of wrestling fans either impressed by, envious of and/or lustful for John Cena’s absurdly ripped physique, there’s a sex scene about half-way through Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck that might just be for you. And yet, strangely, the buck-naked Cena isn’t used just for eye-candy, but full-on, well-honed comedic chops. Schumer’s painfully awkward love scene with Cena – one of a few hilariously funny date moments between the couple – is as funny as it is surprising.
Turns out, WWE’s most dynamic wrestler – much like The Rock before him – has a shockingly good funnybone and a real talent for riffing. We chatted with Cena about his comedic debut and the relationship between his athletic stage performance and his comfort with on-camera improv.
Great job holding your own with all the comedians that surround you in Trainwreck! Before this film, what ‘s been your experience in the comedy genre?
As an active member of the WWE, I have a lot of experience performing in front of a live audience. Sometimes the stuff you do hits; sometimes it misses. But when it misses, people always laugh. Being in the WWE prepared me to go into battle for this film.
Not saying wrestling is scripted or anything, but did you stick to the script or were you comfortable enough to go into improv territory?
You’d be surprised at the amount of physical and audible improvisation we do at the WWE, all of which helped with this. We stuck to the script when we ran through at first, then we explored other aspects and did what we wanted. I like operating like that. If we had the desire to make stuff up, we could, but there was a script to help us structure the scenes. It was something that I’m really very familiar with. It helps everyone let their guard down.
On that note, lets talk about your sex scene with Amy! It’s pretty long with some partial nudity. What was that like for you? Was it scary or just another day in the life?
I don’t care who you are, that’s not another day in the life! On screen it looks like two people, but there’s an entire group of folks. I have to admit, it was awkward and embarrassing, but Amy was there to help with her self-deprecating humor. Judd was also able to create a great environment where it just made the situation funny. And when you can laugh at yourself, it takes the edge off of everything. We just kind of did our thing!
You and LeBron James are the two sports icons that nail the comedy in this film. How did this project come to you?
I’ve been very much looking to do a comedy for quite some time. When you’re a WWE superstar you’re kind of stuck in the television world, and that’s where I was spending most of my time. I was approached to audition for Trainwreck, but it wasn’t a sure shot though. Then I got asked back to do a table read with Amy and Judd and got cast in the movie from there.
Any more for you on the big screen?
My heart is always in wrestling, that’s where I love to be. I’ll be in another comedy release in December. I love doing comedy, above all else it’s what I really enjoy doing. It becomes therapeutic , coming into work and just laughing with your coworkers. It’s a fun atmosphere to be a part of, this project especially. Working with Amy and Judd was fantastic and I would clock in and just laugh the whole day. I think everybody is going to be pleasantly surprised with Trainwreck.
You take a funny little dig at Mark Wahlberg during one scene in the film. Have you spoken to Marky Mark since the movie? Will we be seeing a Wahlberg vs Cena match in our near future?
No! Ha! But I’m sure that will be speculated once everyone sees the movie. Mark is a wonderful human being and unbelievably nice. It really came from the guy [in the scene] calls me Mark Wahlberg and we just went with it. I just had so much fun with this character. He’s so unsure of himself, unsure of his sexuality—unsure of his view on life! He has to be overly physically dominating, so I just tried to think of what this character would say to being called Mark Wahlberg, and that’s just what came out! It’s not a dig at Mr. Wahlberg though, I swear. We were just having fun!
Trainwreck will be in theaters July 17, 2015.