Epitome of strength and gentleness: John Cena

Update: 2018-09-30 00:00 GMT

HighlightA seasoned veteran, who started off as a WWE wrestler, crossed over into Hollywood, music and reality TV, John Cena is one of the most popular WWE names However, the tough guy on screen has so much more to him than meets the eye He is into charity work, granting almost 400 wishes on Make A Wish Foundation and has a very close relationship with his fans

A seasoned veteran, who started off as a WWE wrestler, crossed over into Hollywood, music and reality TV, John Cena is one of the most popular WWE names. However, the tough guy on screen has so much more to him than meets the eye. He is into charity work, granting almost 400 wishes on Make A Wish Foundation and has a very close relationship with his fans.

Excerpts from an interview

Could you tell us a bit about the movie, ‘Ferdinand’?
‘Ferdinand’, the film is based on the age-old children’s book about a big strong bull, who is viewed by everyone as the biggest and strongest in the land, but he is not interested in bullfighting. Everyone else thinks he would be great in the bullfighting arena, but Ferdinand has different plans. He lives more of a simple life. It’s a great story about not judging a book by its cover. The story is great. It’s a fun ride.

What did you love about the character of Ferdinand?
Well, the story has been in publication for 80 years and it certainly is very famous so to be asked to be the title of that story was very flattering and an honour. I just wanted to make sure to do the best I could.

When the director chose you for this role he said that that’s what he liked about you. That you are a picture of strength, but you also have this gentleness. Were you able to see yourself in Ferdinand?
I see a lot of myself in Ferdinand. I’ve never wavered from who I am. Just like Ferdinand, who is not ashamed to be who he is even when it can be misconstrued at moments that are not cool. I am certainly well past being cool or trying to be cool. I have been through the stresses of people constantly asking you to change and I just refuse. Not only that I am more vocal about the things I enjoy. I am not afraid to showcase vulnerability or emotion.

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What was it like working for an animated movie?
I obviously knew that there wouldn’t be much action involved. Whatever I thought the commitment was going to be, it was much more, and I like that because you are invested in it. When you are invested in it, when you believe in it, you work hard to make it right. Learning more about the film, learning more about the story, to be able to be involved in something that sends such a great message, something that stands the test of time - it gives you a better perspective. I am so glad it wasn’t a typical studio session; six hours and you’re done. It was so much more gratifying to be invested in it.

What is the message you want people to walk away with?
Be yourself. First of all, I want kids to enjoy the movie, I think they will. Secondly, just be yourself. Every character in Ferdinand has their own little story to go on so you take a ton of messages away, but I think it is just important to just be yourself. That’s a lesson that doesn’t fall under a certain period of time. So, I think that’s the main message to take away from you. Often people are misunderstood, and Ferdinand is a great example of standing up for who you are.

You’ve done so much in your career, is there anything that you haven’t done yet and are just dying to do?
I’d like to think I am just getting started. I think the one bucket list thing is for everybody to have a greater appreciation of WWE. How we can just talk about how it moves you, it doesn’t matter if it’s your thing or not. Just like anybody else, we work hard, we entertain folks around the world. I just want us to raise awareness in the general media that we’re doing some good work.

Ferdinand is obsessed with flowers in the film. What would viewers be shocked to know that you are obsessed with?
I really try to be upfront about the things that I am passionate about and the range is enormous, from automobiles to the love of my life. So, I think I’ve kind of showed it a little bit, but I’ve become recently obsessed with playing the piano, which is just as relaxing as stopping and smelling the roses. I think it’s important to address those things and let people know.

I like Ferdinand’s obsession with flowers because it shows that just because you like something that makes you seem vulnerable doesn’t mean that you’re not strong. It actually makes you stronger, being able to admit the things that you are passionate about.

-Sourced exclusively for The Hans India.
- Courtesy: Star Movies Select HD.

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