Is John Cena the next Dwayne Johnson? Paramount Pictures certainly hopes so. The studio has entered talks with the wrestler-turned-actor to lead a Duke Nukem movie, based on the popular video game franchise that follows a cigar-wielding action hero who fights aliens to save Earth. And here’s the kicker: Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes is producing. So yes, we may see a Duke Nukem movie starring John Cena, produced by Michael Bay.
Per THR, which broke the news, a director is not yet on board and the film doesn’t even have a writer yet. Securing Cena is the first step, and a search will then begin to find a writer to develop a screenplay tailored to Cena’s sensibilities. A Duke Nukem movie has been in the works for a long, long time, previously having been set up at Dimension Films.
Cena first broke out as an actor in Judd Apatow’s 2015 Amy Schumer-fronted comedy Trainwreck, which zeroed in on Cena’s comedic sensibilities. He subsequently had funny turns in Sisters and Daddy’s Home, but last year showcased his dramatic chops in Doug Liman’s contained thriller The Wall. Most recently he lead the voice cast of the now Oscar-nominated animated film Ferdinand, and he co-stars in the upcoming comedy Blockers as well as the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, both of which hit theaters this year.
A good video game movie has still yet to be made, despite worthy attempts by filmmakers like Duncan Jones (Warcraft) and Justin Kurzel (Assassin’s Creed). Hollywood will try again this year with the Alicia Vikander-fronted Tomb Raider, and if that film’s a success we may very well see a boom in video game adaptations. In that regard, Paramount may be a little ahead of the curve. But that’s a big “if.”