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James Gunn Reveals Similarity Between John Cena And Dave Bautista That's Made Them Stars

by : Daisy Phillipson on :
James Gunn Reveals Similarity Between John Cena And Dave Bautista That's Made Them Stars
James Gunn Reveals Similarity Between John Cena And Dave Bautista That's Made Them Stars (Warner Bros/Marvel)

James Gunn, director of The Suicide Squad and Guardians Of The Galaxy, has revealed the similarity between John Cena and Dave Bautista that made him choose them for his movies. 

The filmmaker shared his insights while discussing Cena’s role in DC’s The Suicide Squad spin-off show Peacemaker, which is set to release on UK streaming platforms tomorrow, March 22. 

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Bautista, who portrays Dax in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, is a former WWE pro wrestler, as is Cena

While this means they’re both great performers, it was their acting abilities that struck Gunn, so much so that he had no hesitation in booking them for such significant roles. 

"There are a lot of wrestlers that have tried to turn to acting and they don’t have that emotional reality in their eyes," Gunn told UNILAD. "They may be great performers, but they look like they’re thinking about themselves."

This wasn’t the case with Cena and Bautista, explained Gunn, after describing the exact moment in The Suicide Squad that inspired him to pursue a Peacemaker series. 

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John Cena starred as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad. Credit: Warner Bros.
John Cena starred as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad. Credit: Warner Bros.

"There’s a moment in The Suicide Squad where [Cena] was aiming his gun down at Ratcatcher 2 when she’s on the ground and there’s an extreme closeup on his eyes," he said. "You just see this story playing in his eyes – this guilt, this regret. He’s saying one thing and thinking another. I saw the depth of an emotional reality in his eyes, which is only something that comes from, to me, a true actor."

Gunn went on to explain that he witnessed the same level of depth and skill in the Drax star.

"The thing about Dave [Bautista] is he was so raw and real and in the moment, and John is the same," adding that they both have the performance aspect to their personalities as well. 

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Since dropping on ​​HBO Max in the US back in January, the first season of Peacemaker has enjoyed great success with audiences and critics alike, scoring a sizable 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

James Gunn's Peacemaker is coming to the UK. Credit: Alamy
James Gunn's Peacemaker is coming to the UK. Credit: Alamy

An expansion of the DCEU, the plot sees our titular superhero/supervillain back under the control of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) following the events of The Suicide Squad

Peacemaker is forced to join the mysterious ARGUS black ops squad for ‘Project Butterfly’, the aim of which is to take down parasitic butterfly-like creatures who have infiltrated human bodies across the world. 

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Alongside Cena, the squad members include Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), John Economos (Steve Agee) and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland).

We also delve into Peacemaker’s troubled history, with Robert Patrick taking on the role of his emotionally abusive father Auggie Smith.

Dave Bautista also impressed Gunn with his acting skills. Credit: Marvel
Dave Bautista also impressed Gunn with his acting skills. Credit: Marvel

Gunn opened up about why he chose to focus on Peacemaker for the new show, saying, "In The Suicide Squad I had all of these characters who I really love, but a lot of them we got to tell big chunks of their stories. I was able to show a lot about characters such as Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2 and Polka-Dot Man.

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‘With Peacemaker, John and I talked so much about who this guy was, how socially awkward he is, how he never feels part of any group he’s in, how he brags to make up for his massive insecurities, and I just felt that it was a really rich character with a lot of story to tell and a lot of places to go. 

The first season of Peacemaker has proved a hit with US audiences. Credit: HBO Max
The first season of Peacemaker has proved a hit with US audiences. Credit: HBO Max

"He’s got a unique mindset as a superhero/supervillain which was different from anything we’d seen before. So I felt like it was just a pot of gold waiting to be shared with the world."

Peacemaker season 1 is available to watch from March 22 on Sky Max and streaming service NOW via an Entertainment Membership

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Topics: Film & TV, DC Comics, Film and TV, James Gunn, John Cena, Dave Bautista