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John Cena on 12 Rounds

Published March 26, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of respective holders
John Cena knows his first movie wasn't perfect. The Marine introduced movie audiences to a new action hero, in case they didn't follow the WWE superstar's athletic career. He promises his latest, 12 Rounds, fixed all of the problems his debut might have had.

John Cena Talks 12 Rounds

"The Marine a few years ago, I would say, was a great introduction for me into acting," Cena said. "I learned a lot from doing that movie and certainly corrected a lot of what I thought the flaws were of that movie into 12 Rounds. I really wish that there was just a little bit more character development. I know the movie was very up in your face and it was certainly modeled after old, '80's style action. I loved the winking at the camera. I loved the huge explosions and stuff like that. I think that movie was built by design and I had never been onscreen before and was literally thrown in the mix with seven days to go so I think they basically probably thought, 'Okay, take care of the kid. Don't over expose him.' I would've liked more of a chance to act a little bit. I think that there was a lot of me running through the jungle. I think the supporting cast carried the movie and Robert Patrick did so great. All the bad guys did awesome. Kelly [Carlson] did great. That's what carried the movie. Personally, I would've liked to have given a bigger contribution to the film. I love it. I love watching it because I grew up with that type of movie, but from a personal standpoint wish I could've given more."

12 Rounds casts Cena as a cop struggling to stop a brilliant killer who has him running around New Orleans. "In 12 Rounds it's more like, 'Wow. This guy is just an everyday guy who's having troubles with his girl at home and is just trying to feed his dog.' He sends this guy to jail by accident. There's a lot of doubt and there's a lot of failure in this movie. There's a lot of anxiety. There are so many points in the movie where I think I won't make it or I think that I can't make it. So, like I said, it depends on the project and I think that as long as you have a solid project backed with really good action and of course a good finish you're not really cheating the audience at all. You can still go back to being the kick ass action guy. I mean, when all else fails just take the shirt off and go at it. The audience will get the fact that, 'Okay, this guy can kick some ass.' But as long as you do solid projects with a good story and some good action to back it up I think you can play both sides of the fence."

12 Rounds 12 Rounds

12 Rounds 12 Rounds

Shooting the film called upon Cena's WWE experience. With multiple cameras running simultaneously, Cena could multitask, playing to each one.

"That's how we shoot Raw. We shoot Raw with 11 cameras and they catch everything. So literally that made it a lot easier on me and I'm so glad that Renny [Harlin] chose that style. He was like, 'On some of this stuff we're not going to worry about anything. Just go and if we get it we get it and if not it's my fault.' It was really, really easy. He chose the right style for me."

With all those cameras going, there was little room to fake it. Cena did most of the film's stunts for real. "This was actually the first time I learned that there's no badge of honor in doing all of your own stuff. You need to do the majority of the stuff because it certainly helps, especially in a movie like this which is based in the realism of the action. We didn't lean heavy on CG. We didn't lean heavy on back lot stuff. We filmed all this stuff out there so it helps a lot when you're in a real scenario to see the face of your guy doing all this stuff. I was hanging from an elevator shaft. I drove the fire truck. I surfed on the street car. I wrecked all those cop cars. I drove the Camaro. I jumped out of the helicopter and all of that stuff, jumped out of the ten story building. So there were really just a few moments that I didn't do. Certain stunts on the helicopter, certain things in the driving stuff where literally if something went wrong and the car was torn in half by a bus or something like that, certain spots then in the driving. But for the most part I was in the game for a lot of it."

12 Rounds opens Friday.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of respective holders

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