John Cena is on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors. The professional wrestler and "Trainwreck" alum stars in the surprisingly progressive teen sex-comedy "Blockers," which opens in theaters on April 6, as Mitchell, the hands-on dad of a high school senior who makes a pact with her two best friends to lose their virginity on prom night. All hell breaks loose when their parents discover their plan and launch a mission to shut them down. In the ensuing madness, the trio of adults learn an important lesson about the unfair double standard young women face regarding their sexuality … and Mitchell chugs beer from his butt. Wonderwall.com caught up with John to get the scoop on what it's like to be the mainstream face of butt chugging, why he's not afraid of embarrassing himself, how he feels about empowering young women and more. Keep reading for the highlights from our chat…
John Cena, Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, Geraldine Viswanathan, Kathryn Newton and Gideon Adlon star in "Blockers," which opens in theaters on April 6, 2018.
John Cena on being part of such a surprisingly empowering film for young women:
"I think a lot of the messaging lays heavily on the shoulders of the young ladies [in the cast]. I thought they handled it just brilliantly. The subject matter is difficult, and the double standard is not to be ignored — it just exists. It is what it is. I don't think culture has changed overnight, but I think steps in the right direction are important. Hopefully it gets families to maybe talk about difficult stuff. When you can put people in the theater and make them laugh, that's your job. When you can send them home thinking, that's extra credit."
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John Cena on being cast in "Blockers" as an incredibly hands-on dad whose size isn't his defining characteristic:
"I had to audition for this — and I was very happy to because it was a project that I believed in. I read the script and I loved it. One of the main hangups [of casting me] was, 'Well, this guy is a behemoth.' So it involved a very extensive audition with [director Kay Cannon] and all the people making the movie to see if that's all I was. The very foundation of that audition was just to find out who I was as a person. It's amazing how there's a real human being under here. But when she found that out, she was like, 'Man, not only is this gonna work, but now if I want to, I can have this guy … do these crazy things that involve [his strength]. He's a human being going through this struggle, and when he needs to be larger than life, he can be larger than life."
John Cena on what makes him a natural at comedy:
"I think it's just a perspective of understanding the joke and not selfishly wanting to be protected [from looking like a fool]. A lot of the jokes are because of things that I do — embarrassing things that I do. Comedy is about being able to laugh at yourself — when you don't force those laughs and they come organically from embarrassing situations. You have [my character in 'Blockers'] who is willing to do anything for his daughter, and then it becomes, 'Well, anything but that.' Then somebody says, 'Well, then you're full of s—.' And he goes, 'Well, I'll do anything for my daughter,' and that's the backbone behind a funny scene in the movie, but it's a genuine decision that comes from a real place. It just winds up in me not looking very cool."
John Cena on a scene in "Blockers" in which his character chugs beer from his butt:
"When I got the script, I'd never heard of [butt chugging], and they were like, 'We're doing this because this is really a thing.' The original draft of the script referenced digital information that you could verify. I was like, 'S—, I can't believe this.' But I also knew that they were ahead of the curve a little bit, and it was going to be funny. I just didn't know that it was going to be the cornerstone moment of the trailer for the movie. … The movie has so much more to offer besides that moment. It's just loaded with not only humor but heart."
John Cena on the most challenging part of making "Blockers":
"It was never a challenge. So I was laughing too much during the day? No, no. Sometimes there was chaos in terms of the movie itself because it's told through so many different eyes. It doesn't just follow one lead through the story. You're getting six different perspectives — sometimes nine, sometimes more. It's a lot of material. Some days were challenging because you have to be in one spot and you have to be in another spot and it takes a village to move that equipment and manipulate that type of schedule. But aside from that, when we were actually making the movie, man, it was fun. It was fun the whole way through."
John Cena on "Blockers" co-star Leslie Mann, who has two daughters in real life:
"Of all of us, she certainly related to the material most. … She was sending her daughter off to college when she read the script, and I think that was her connection to the material. She brought a very personal connection to the story, and I think it shows. It absolutely does."
John Cena on balancing his commitments to the WWE with his burgeoning acting career:
"I constantly take breaks, whether it's a five-minute reprieve or a 12-hour sleep-day or just an occasional two or three days off of everything. I enjoy what I do. I wouldn't do it if I didn't because it's hard work. So I enjoy the hard work. I enjoy the uncomfortable nature of the demands that it puts on you, like, 'Hey this can't be done by a human being.' I don't know — have we ever tried it this way? But it's all stuff that I want to do. It's all stuff that I'm either instantly rewarded for — like performing in front of a live audience in the WWE — or it's a long-term play where you can film a movie and see it a year and a half later and be like, 'Woah, this is great. I can remember when we did this, and it's great that other people like it.' But it's all stuff that I enjoy. I think that's the first step. And if you talk to entrepreneurs, they always say, 'Try to make your passion your profession,' and I'm a full believer in that."