A special thank you to Fox for inviting me to participate in this exclusive Ferdinand interview with John Cena!
As I made my way to Las Vegas, I knew we had a surprise interview on our itinerary but it wasn’t until we had gotten to the interview room that we found out it would be John Cena. Having already seen him on stage introducing the animated film, Ferdinand, in which he voices the main character (and already being a fan), I could not wait.
A true gentleman, John Cena entered the room and made it a point to shake each our hands and introduce himself before the interview started. Our interview allowed me to see another side to him and make me admire him. Not only is he sweet, he follows his heart and he is passionate about his work and staying true to himself. Little did I know that he would be proposing to his girlfriend inside the ring of Wrestle Mania just a few days later.
Here’s what John Cena had to say:
- They originally wanted John for another part of the film but “the folks at Blue Sky and Fox came back and were like, “Well, we’ve re-circled our wagons, and we would like John to be Ferdinand.”
- He tends to “say yes to everything and then figure it all out, because I have a very good perspective of I live with a dream job.”
- John says that he can relate to Ferdinand. “…in every aspect of it, I am Ferdinand. I’m the guy that can’t walk out onto a stage without them trying to blow something up or everybody on the street challenging me to a wrestling match, it’s just because of what they see and it’s what I am perceived as. And there is a typecasting that goes with what we do, but I’m a human being…I’m a different guy than what you see. What you see certainly is me, but I just couldn’t think of a better way to kind of tell my story through their story, and at least at the best I could do it. I’m like, “I get this, and I’ll be able to nail this.”
- The powerful message in the film is what really attracted him to this movie: “You have this big, enormous, softhearted, loving individual who, if you just look at him, you’d be like, “All right, don’t want to pick a fight with him at the end of the bar.” But it’s so much more than don’t let yourself go there. Don’t just become that because that’s what people perceive you as. And nowadays, we just empower individuals to Just be who you are. You don’t have to be this way or this way or this way, or just because people see you a certain way doesn’t mean you have to be a certain way. So, that I like, especially with certainly young, impressionable people. Ferdinand knows who he is the whole time. But also with his influence, he takes a group of eclectic folks and lets them see, like, “Wow, there’s more to life than what people just may see me as.”
- Working with Carlos (the director) in the sound booth was fun for John. “…It’s a fun experience, being in a sound booth alone with him. He’s a crazy man and you see the enjoyment and the passion in his eyes. And he creates a whole art. And just to see the face of Ferdinand for the first time, you can just see so much emotion behind the eyes. It’s been a cool process. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.”
- John says that he can see himself in the animated version of Ferdinand like in the mouth movements, etc.
- What he hopes families walk away with after watching this film: “…I hope they see a great movie, because I really think it’s just a fun ride. And it’s got all the entertainment of those animated movies that adults have to pleasantly watch 2,000 times. The thing that I find the most powerful, and I hate to shove moral fiber down people’s throats, but when you can tell a story and take people on a fun ride and also leave them walking away with something, give them a little bit to think about. It’s a great, famous tale about, there’s more than meets the eye. You don’t judge a book by its cover.”
- Apparently, John Cena is a softie! He shared that nugget of information with us while sharing his favorite scene of the film (which pulled at his heart strings). “I literally am a softie. So, there’s a scene where Ferdinand gets taken away from his family, which is tough but awesome. When the fighting bulls…decide to change their life, that’s a great moment…When Ferdinand finds out that the entire structure of what the bulls believe in isn’t really what it seems, they just believe it because they’re told to believe it…But, I’m a sucker, man. I’m the person that if the commercial’s good I get teary-eyed.”
- As a kid, John always wanted to be a pro wrestler. “as a kid, wanted to be a pro wrestler, and I got into it as a hobby. I never dreamed I would get paid. So, when they started paying me, I’m like, “Joke’s on you guys.” I’d do it for free.”
- Rather than having role models, John has had mentors in his life. “…ever since I was 12 or 13 years old, I’ve always had a mentor type figure around me, or a close friend that would just kick my *butt* if I ever got out of line and always push the limits of what I was capable of. And I still have those figures in my life today. They’ve been forever changing. But it’s like I get to the next chapter in my life and there’s somebody there to grab my hand and help me raise the bar.”
Ferdinand will be in theaters this Christmas, December 15!
From Blue Sky Studios and Carlos Saldanha, the director of “Rio” and inspired by the beloved book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, “Ferdinand” is a heartwarming animated comedy adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and many more.
Ferdinand tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.
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