One of the most honored names in professional wrestling, John Cena has branched out quite a bit over the past 15 years with a successful acting career showcasing his abilities as both an action lead and a sly comedian. Witness his chops on the latter front in Vacation Friends—out this weekend in theaters and streaming on Hulu.
Also working in music and philanthropic causes close to his heart, Cena keeps on proving with each film that he’s full of surprises. For example …
Cena’s starring debut was a big surprise for action movie fans, a breakthrough title for WWE Studios that far exceeded expectations and led to no fewer than five sequels (in which he didn’t star). Here Cena plays a discharged marine whose considerable skills come in handy when his wife is kidnapped deep in the South Carolina woods. Cena would follow this with another successful action film for WWE, 12 Rounds (2009).
Amy Schumer both wrote and starred in this critically praised comedy directed by Judd Apatow, which features some surprising cast members including Tilda Swinton and Brie Larson. However, the biggest head-turner at the time had to be Cena, whose untapped comic timing was unleashed in a scene-stealing turn during the film’s first act as Amy’s deeply flawed, dim-witted boyfriend who plays a key role in the path leading to the love of her life.
The beloved children’s book about a peace-loving bull finally reached the screen in this Oscar-nominated animated family film, with Cena providing the voice of the flower-besotted title character. His dedicated vocal delivery forms the heart of the film as it finds inventive ways to add vibrant new characters into the mix to bring the story up to feature-film length.
An offshoot in the cinematic Transformers series, this heartwarming sci-fi family film focuses on the story of one of its best-loved characters. Cena stars as a top-level government agent and former Army colonel who refuses to believe the benevolent nature of our metallic title character, only to learn a valuable life lesson during the fiery climax.
Cena got to show off his comic chops most recently in Justin Lin’s F9 and in director James Gunn’s outrageous contribution to the DC Comics cinematic canon, which blasts rapid-fire gags and cartoonish bloodshed at the screen with pure glee. Here he stars as the hardline killer Peacemaker, who joins the title gang of misfits to pull off a world-threatening job within a marginalized island community—which of course leads to more mayhem than they could have ever imagined.