John Cena is a lot more than just an insanely fit WWE superstar. He’s stepped out of the ring and into Hollywood—flexing his acting chops with the upcoming war drama The Wall—a far cry from the comedies he’s done in the past.
We got the scoop on Cena’s thoughts on acting, granting wishes, and his Instagram.
Men’s Fitness: Your latest film, The Wall, about two American soldiers in Iraq trapped by a close-range sniper, is far grittier than anything you’ve done in the past.
The other stuff was effects-based action, which is guy-loses-girl, guy-chases-girl, shit blows up. That’s easy.
The Wall goes into the mind of a sniper, into the psychology—and counterpsychology—of sniping, so it’s a really, really intense thriller.
Speaking of intense, what was it like to film the sex scene with Amy Schumer in Trainwreck? And what did your fiancée, Nikki Bella, think of it?
Take the absolute most awkward thing possible, and then make someone angry to make it more awkward. That sums up that entire experience.
Do you watch and critique your acting performances?
One of the great things about WWE is that you have a live audience, and they tell you whether your match is a success or failure. Film acting doesn’t have that.
So I do watch the stuff but with an open mind. I don’t necessarily think, “Oh, what did my eyes look like?” I watch the movie as a movie and ask myself if I was entertained.
You’re on WWE TV, you do hosting gigs, you grant hundreds of kids’ wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. How do you make it all happen?
There’s only 24 hours in the day, and they get used up fast, so I invest in myself—in shaving minutes off travel, making sure I get as much quality sleep as I can, and getting the best food resources I can.
It’s not always cost-effective, but at the end of the day I feel good. And if I feel good, I can work out great, and if I work out great, I can stay strong and keep kicking ass in the ring.
Why do you post captionless photos on Instagram instead of promoting yourself?
It was a conscious choice to let people interpret the images themselves. But I don’t just throw the pictures up. Every single thing I post has meaning to me.
Where would you like to see your acting career go from here?
Man, I don’t know. I want to take on projects I enjoy. Whether it’s hosting Saturday Night Live [as he did in 2016] or the ESPYs, or shooting a magazine cover—I do it because I love it. I realize I’m very fortunate, so I’m going to ride that wave until it crests, then that’s that.