John Cena Got A Second Chance At Hollywood, But It Came After ‘Absolute Fall On Your Face Failure’
Photo Credit: WWE
John Cena is getting a second shot at the movie business, and he’s finding success after drastically changing his approach to the roles he’s been taking as of late.
John Cena recently spoke to Insight with Chris Van Vliet while promoting F9 and spoke about how he’s grown as an actor since The Marine. Released in 2006 as a WWE Studios project, Cena explained how his initial foray into acting was done for the wrong reasons, but now he’s finding out how to properly balance life in WWE and on the silver screen.
“I mean if you look at it in that perspective, I started out doing movies as a business decision. It was originally supposed to be Steve Austin but he passed. Vince was like, ‘Hey I need you to go to Australia.’ This is two weeks before shooting. He explained if we can bolster WWE Studios, we will bolster WWE live event attendance, we can host larger venues and be more widespread. I’m like, ‘this guy is onto something, let’s go do this so I can get back to the ring.’ That’s the wrong approach to take,” Cena explained, “but I continued to take that approach to the movies that I did, and in turn, I made a lot of bad movies.
“So now transfer that into WWE speak. ‘This match would be good for the energy drink I’m trying to sell. If more people like the match, more people will drink the energy drink.’ No, you have a match because you f-cking loved to have those matches and you want to be there and be in the middle of it, look around at the majesty. It wasn’t until honestly, the Fred movies where I could parody myself,” Cena said, “and that was kind of the start of all that. And after that, Trainwreck, where I could have fun with the process and expect nothing out of it. Fred was a cameo, Trainwreck was a cameo and I did a bunch of other small cameos where I stop looking at it as a vehicle and start to look at this as creative fun.”
Cena explained that he was still looking at WWE the same way, but WWE was where he wanted to be. He explained that approaching acting and other characters in the same way allowed him to explore things in a new way while keeping the same passion for wrestling.
“If they change my character heel or babyface or whatnot, it doesn’t matter because I have these other outlets I can express those emotions that I want to do. I had to change my perception and that came after tremendous failure. I thought after all those bad movies I was done,” Cena stated. “Fifteen years later I got a second chance at the movie business and we are talking about Fast 9. But that comes from absolute fall on your face failure.”
Falling off the bike will always help you learn to ride it.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) June 4, 2021
While his approach to acting has changed, Cena says he also continues to learn from professional wrestling in new ways as well. Asked what the biggest lesson he’s learned from working with Vince McMahon was, Cena said he reflects on the experience daily and it’s not so much something Vince told him, but rather the way he continues to operate his business.
“I continue to learn from him every single day. There is not an instance that goes by where I don’t reflect on my experience in the WWE and what he has taught me. Often times learning from osmosis, he doesn’t hit you over the head with the lessons,” Cena said, “but you can learn from his decision-making. It says a lot about the person and what you can take. That well is endless and not dried up yet. I continue to learn from him.
“I think the most valuable of all the lessons is to show up and deliver. That isn’t something he says, it’s something he does all the f’n time. He’s always there and he’s always invested. People can question his creative motives and whatever, it’s creativity,” Cena noted, “there’s always going to be an opinion. He’s always got his boots on the ground, he’s always invested and he always believes in his passion about the product. I think just showing up and delivering, that’s a huge takeaway.”