With author-instructor James Gunns Founder of Peace now streaming on HBO Max, which I recently spoke with John Cena about making the amazing series. During the interview, he talked about filming the opening lyrics, how the fight sequence in his underwear was physically painful due to his inability to hide pillows on the floor or in his costume, Peacemaker’s relationship with Eagly and more. In addition, he told about the success of Holiday friends and how excited he was to work with Matthew Vaughn on the upcoming spy movie Argylle.
As most of you know, Peacemaker takes up after the events in The suicide group. The post-credit scene of the film showed how the anti-hero survived Idris Alba |‘s Bloodsport shot in the throat and how Viola DavisAmanda Waller was still not done using him in her mysterious plans. Gunn has written all eight episodes of the series and directs five of the series episodes. There will also be instruction Jody Hill, Rosemary Rodriguezand Brad Andersen.
In addition to Cena returning as Peacemaker, the series will also look back The suicide group‘s Steve Agee’s John Economos and Jennifer HollandEmilia Harcourt. Founder of Peace also stars Freddie Stroma the observer, Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo, Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn, and Robert Patrick as Peacemaker’s father.
See what John Cena had to say in the player above, or you can read the transcript below.
COLLIDER: First of all, congratulations on that Founder of Peace. That is really good.
JOHN CENA: Oh, thank you, man. Thank you.
But I’m kind of Matthew Vaughn and he told me he was really impressed with your work Argylle. He said some very positive things about you. So I just have to ask you, what was it like working with him?
CENA: Man, I’m a big fan of his work. He’s probably a bigger fan of Kingsman than me, but I’m a huge fan. The script was amazing, and being able to be asked to be a part of such a project, it’s a dream come true. We talk a lot, almost every time we talk, I express that I do not know what the hell is going on or why it is happening and I am just grateful for everything that is happening. I do not know what to say. It is a dream come true.
I can not wait, because he does action … And it’s also Brad Allen’s last project to be an action director, but we’ll talk about that along the way. Jumps out in Founder of Peacewhat made you more nervous when James told you about the opening lyrics and what you wanted to do, or the whole fight sequence in your underwear?
CENA: Both. The combat sequence in the underwear had its own set of setbacks. I loved the fight sequence in the underwear because what a symbol of vulnerability and what a symbol of humanizing someone that you only see in a helmet, a uniform. I love that aspect of it. But then the negative is no block. So just like for the stunt falls, Spencer Thomas is an absolute stud. He’s the one who took a lot of the big things, including jumping out of a building. But that area is about as close to a ring as you are going to get, so I was also adamant that I would make a whole lot of that fight myself. The only problem is that you can not grab a hardwood floor and it really hurts when you fall because there is nowhere to hide a pillow, which is a big reason why you see actors wearing long sleeves .
The pacemaker’s short-sleeved costume itself has many setbacks when it comes to performing really hard stunt work because you just can not put pillows in places you are trying to land, like your elbows, your shoulder for example, your forearms, wrists. The opening dance number, I can not dance. So I was nervous and said, “I’m not getting good at this.” So you dive into the philosophical question of, “Am I enough?” To be confident enough to approach the concept: “Well, am I enough? I’m not getting good at this.” They’re all going to laugh at you, to quote an Adam Sandler soundbite. You know what? I really enjoyed the concept of it and it’s super weird and everyone who sees it says, “Yo, it made me forget the jump intro button.” So the mission was completed and it was a step in the right direction. “Hey, it’s something you’ll not get good at. You’ll have to work hard at it. It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully in the end it’s going to be okay.” And that was that.
I’ve seen seven of the eight episodes, and every time the credits came on, I just had a big smile on my face because it’s so good. Also the song by Wig Wam.
CENA: Yes. I also think it changes in its polarity during the episodes. Sometimes it’s like the John Cena horns, the theme music, because it’s such a ballad, and it just starts like that. And there are times when it’s eerily sad and melancholy to be such a weird ballad. The tone of the dance takes you on a different journey because of what you have just seen and what you are about to see. So it also has chameleon-like tendencies, and I enjoy it.
I told James, I asked him if there was an extended version and he said no and I was ready to leave the interview. Yet.
CENA: I think James squeezed all the water out of the rock he could.
That’s so good though. I can not wait for people to see it. Talk a little about your relationship with Eagly, because of course it’s great, and fans will love it, and there’s a lot of emotion with a character.
CENA: Of course you can. I think it is very important in many dynamics. First of all, Eagly is without a doubt a stage thief. He has personality and its quirky, certainly more opinionated feline-like than dog-like, but when it comes to Peacemaker’s perspective, Eagly is Peacemaker’s best friend, and that says a lot about the human connections that Peacemaker has allowed himself to have. I think that explains a lot why his worldview can be the way it is. So in that perspective alone, I think Eagly is very important. Eagly is, as I said, an integral part of the team and a stage thief, but is also Peacemaker’s best friend, which is beautiful in some moments. When you’re hugged by an eagle, it’s a magic man. But it also says a lot about Peacemaker’s life and how he lives his life.
Of course, you’re playing Peacemaker The suicide group. It’s a completely different dynamic to make a film. Sometimes you have days to film a sequence. When you make Founder of Peaceof course, the schedule is very shortened and it is much faster because it is a TV series. What was it like playing with making your first series like this?
CENA: Oh, that was a pleasure. Never once did it feel rushed, and never once did we fall behind, even with the COVID restrictions, and it was right in the heart of it all. Everyone came prepared. I think everyone knew it was going to be a lot of work, but it was work for the whole cast, both on camera and behind the camera, the crew, everyone had fun with it. It started from day one, I was dancing in my underwear and it was a tidal wave after that. I think the biggest difference was that you saw a flash of the character in The suicide groupand then you might as well stay in a longer journey and really lean into the character.
And I know the cool thing about it is that not everyone felt positive about Peacemaker afterwards. The suicide group. Many people thought, “Why are you giving this dip its own show? This guy is not a likeable guy.” But I also find it interesting, because if you look deeper into the notions of The suicide groupthere are the nuanced human moments of these microseconds that show potential. Potential for growth, potential for development, potential for exploration, which is really good when you’re trying to make an eight-episode TV series.
Were you a little surprised at the success of Holiday friends?
CENA: It was me. I had fun making the film. I should pretty much be on vacation and enjoy it, but comedy is tough. It really is. What you think is funny, someone else may not think is funny. We got a great group of people to make that movie. Clay Tarver, the director wrote the film, and he’s a funny SOB. And certainly, Rel and Yvonne and Meredith and everyone involved in the cast. We got a great group together. We all had fun making it. But man, I’m so much more nervous about comedy than I am about anything resembling a superhero project because it’s much more accepted as “Okay, uniform, superpower, affiliation with Marvel or DC, I understand it that way.” Whereas this is our fun. It is so open to interpretation. I was very pleasantly surprised by the success of Holiday friendsbecause man, it was a bunch of fun. Yes, it was a pleasant surprise. I know they’re writing a sequel, and I can not wait to make another one.
Listen man, congratulations on everything. I wish you nothing but the best.
CENA: Oh, thank you. It’s good to talk to you again.
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