Peacemaker’s John Cena Talks Wardrobe Malfunction And Channelling His Inner BTS In The Wacky Opening Credits
Watch our video interview with 'Peacemaker' star John Cena and showrunner James Gunn.
I wish to state for the record that I’m not a fan of John Cena’s action movies. At least, not the early ones (The Marine, 12 Rounds). My fandom started with his comedy roles, notably in Trainwreck, where the wrestling star-turned-actor played Amy Schumer’s boyfriend with an aversion to talking dirty during sex. Then there was him hosting Saturday Night Live; as an adorkable helicopter-parent in Blockers; and as a younger version of Dolph Lundgren’s retired pedalist in the pro-cycling parody Tour de Pharmacy.
Mainly comedies, no action stuff. (Well, maybe Doug Liman’s sniper thriller The Wall, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson did most of the heavy-lifting…)
Then came last year’s The Suicide Squad. If Cena’s action and comedy outputs are presented in a Venn diagram, somewhere in the intersection lies Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn’s off-the-meds, part-sequel-part-reboot of 2016’s DC comic book film Suicide Squad (no determinant) where The Doctor of Thuganomics shows off his anaconda-sized biceps comedic chops to good effect.
Cena is Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker, one of the members of Task Force X, a motley crew of criminals ordered by the government to destroy a Nazi fortress on a South American island. Spotting a chrome toilet seat-looking helmet, Peacemaker is a weapon expert and an end-justifies-the-means kind of guy — he wants peace and doesn’t care how many people he has to kill to achieve it.
Yes, he’s kind of a douchebag (he f***ing killed Rick Flag!) albeit a likable one. But no one is born a douchebag, right? His road to douchebag-ness is examined in Peacemaker's self-titled HBO Max spin-off (and the DC Extended Universe’s first-ever TV show) which premiered on Jan 13.
Amid doing some soul searching (he’s morally conflicted over what he’d done in The Suicide Squad), Peacemaker joins another (less dysfunctional, less bizarre) shadow unit — including The Suicide Squad alums Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland, Orange is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks and Unreal’s Freddie Stroma) to battle an evil entity (is it?) not of his world. All the M18-certified splattery and banter unfolding against a cool soundtrack packed with hair metal bands (Faster Pussycat! Cinderella! Quire Boys!). And if you're feeling down, the opening sequence will brighten your day.
Adds Gunn: “So we start to feel a little bit for the guy right early on and he starts to open up a little bit and change a little. I think I like to see people who are willing to change and become better than what they are right now.”
Elsewhere, Cena, 44, relishes the chance to reprise his white-briefs-wearing alter-ego. “[Peacemaker] isn’t all he said he is [in The Suicide Squad],” says Cena. “There is so much more of a human flame there. He just needs the right mixture to develop into an inferno. We all as an audience want to root for him to do better. Will he do better? Who knows? It’s in there and we want to root for people to improve.”
Speaking to 8days.sg over Zoom, Cena and Gunn share more about the making of Peacemaker, including the aforementioned loony opening sequence, where Cena, a BTS fan, dances to the beat of Norwegian group Wig Bam’s ‘Do You Want to Taste It' and whether Cena encountered any wardrobe malfunction while filming his underwear scenes.
Photos: HBO Go