John Cena Confirmed For Duke Nukem Movie (And Dr Dolittle)
A video game icon AND a polar bear?
Despite the fact that video game adaptations are STILL not getting any love, despite some praise for Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider reboot, Hollywood is already moving forward on another big adaptation. Given that it's of Duke Nukem, we're probably looking at an R-Rated movie, but somewhat surprisingly, there's now confirmation that John Cena will be starring, which makes that rating slightly less likely.
Cena - who looks like he was built on spec to play Nukem - was confirmed to CinemaBlend by producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Still, that doesn't mean we're close to the film shooting, as the producers also confirmed that they don't have a script yet:
"Yeah, that's what we're working with now. He is. Yes. We don't have a script yet, so that is confirmed at this point but if he reads the script and he doesn't like the script I'm sure there's ways that he could pull out, but right now he's our guy"
Interestingly, though Cena has built a reputation as a family-friendly wrestler, it seems the film will aim for more adult themes, juding by the inspiration Form and Fuller are looking to:
"We are working on Duke Nukem right now. It's going to be about tone. That's about tone. How do you nail that tone in the way that Deadpool nailed the tone? I think we have to do that and if we don't get the tone right then we're not going to make the movie."
Meanwhile, Cena himself spoke to ScreenRant on the marketing rounds for Blockers about the film and the very specific issues that will come with trying to find the right tone:
"I think that’s the direct attachment and I’m very honored to be attached to that but that is a very fragile franchise. That was one that was very timeline specific, that is 1990s to the hilt. So, once again, it reflects upon story. The story has to come in dead-on balls, man. Like it has to come in told correct, told in a palatable sense for this generation, which you’re walking on eggshells… you can’t not be Duke Nukem, but you can’t make the wrong move… so I’m… what a blessing to be attached to that, a name like that, and I just hope development does the franchise justice."Advertisement
That point about "you can't not be Duke Nukem" is a big one. Duke Nukem is not a nice guy, which is part of his charm (but also part of what made his most recent video game so divisive), so finding the right balance between doing justice to the character's origins and not making him an unwatchable douchebag is a big issue to overcome. Approaching it like Deadpool is probably exactly the right way to go.
On top of the Duke Nukem news, Cena was also among the starry cast announced by Robert Downey Jr for 2019 reboot The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. He is set to play Yoshi the Polar Bear alongside the likes of Emma Thompson, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Craig Robinson, Carmen Ejogo, Rami Malek, Frances De La Tour, Kumail Nanjiani and Marion Cotillard. So two wildly different roles, basically.