Despite being a reliable action star who seems effortlessly likable when he plays a character with a personality, John Cena doesn’t really have a blockbuster movie franchise to call his own (movies produced by WWE don’t really count). His superhero character is going to TV and Vin Diesel will never let him try and take over Fast And Furious after what Dwayne Johnson pulled, but now Cena may finally have another opportunity to launch an action movie series.
Deadline says he’s in talks to star in Freelance, a movie about a former special forces guy who retires to a boring life in the suburbs after a job goes wrong. He decides to come out of retirement when he’s offered a job doing security for a journalist interviewing an evil dictator, but then “a military coup breaks out in the middle of the interview” (don’t you hate it when that happens?) and all three of them have to work together to survive.
This is the point where we reveal that the tortured premise (a retired soldier and a female journalist with a big career-making interview and an evil dictator and a military coup?) is all part of the design: Deadline says it’s an action-comedy, which is very much Cena’s zone at this point. Freelance is being directed by Pierre Morel, who is best known for making the first Taken and, uh, not much else of note since then. Maybe this will be exactly what both of them need.
Freelance will also, weirdly, be the feature debut of Jimmy Kimmel Live! writer Jacob Lentz. He also worked on Ed and was a producer on Animal Nation With Anthony Anderson (which is apparently a whole funny animal show). At the very least, the fact that he’s familiar with the talk show world should help him create a believable interviewer character.