Blockers: Interview with Star John Cena

Film’s Perspective

John Cena: The parents weren’t doing it to harm their kids. I think one could bat that volleyball around the net a little bit.  They were doing it because they loved their kids, absolutely, they loved their kids and they don’t want to see them hurt.  But in taking away a young adult’s ability to make a choice and to experience life, you actually may be hurting them.  But I think that is the beautiful story arc of the movie, and that is why it’s more than just jokes and beer up your butt, they movie has a beating heart and you can see it from the eyes of these young women, and you can also see it from the eyes of the parents.  It’s weird that the parents are put in that position of being educators and this is a movie about them being educated, about emojis and about the life of a young adult, and then realizing that oh, the life of a young adult actually means living life.

 

Sexual Desire

JC: We are all human beings and we all have desires, no matter what your desires gravitate towards.  But I would like to think that everybody has a sexual drive, and our culture is at a spot where no matter who we are, no matter what race, creed, religion, and we are all screaming to just be treated fairly, so I think this movie especially hits home on that front.

 

Personal Impact

JC: It would be very difficult to say that my journey in this movie influenced my choice on parenthood, I don’t think that’s appropriate. It certainly reminded me of my days of being a young man, and being rebellious to my parents, and they tried their best to corral me in but I just wouldn’t have it, and I truly think it’s my life experiences that have brought me where I am at today.  So if anything, it’s given me a chance to reflect on that, so if down the road I am a parent, hopefully I keep that sense of reflection in mind when it’s time for my child to begin to live life on their own terms.

 

Comedy

JC: Well, above all else, it’s a comedy and I think when people go seriously, they don’t understand the joke.  And not understanding the joke is fine, not all of us get the punch lines.  But if you go “seriously,” then you either have to have somebody explain the joke to you, or maybe just it isn’t funny.  And having read the script, and never once going, I don’t get that, means that I thought all the jokes were funny.  And on top of that the story has a bunch of heart, which is why, I didn’t even read for Mitchell, I was just handed it by my agent and they said this was something that was out there, would you consider it?  And I didn’t know what I was reading for, but I just read it. And I had to audition and I read for Mitchell.

 

First Time Directed by Woman?

JC: Yes and no. It’s been in a lot of cases, like Tina Fey was very active and hands on in “Sisters,” although she wasn’t at the helm.  Amy Schumer was very active and hands on in “Trainwreck,” although she wasn’t at the helm. So yes, this is the first time that Kay Cannon has sit in the chair that calls action. But I have been lucky enough and fortunate enough to be surrounded by one, very funny, two very talented, and three, very driven females, for quite a long time.

Like I said, she didn’t hand this thing to me, I had to go audition for it.  And she saw me as Mitchell, whereas I had just read the story and didn’t know where I fit in.  And the audition process was fantastic.  We did a few scenes of dialogue and after that, she just wanted to talk to me. And we talked for about 90 minutes, about life.  And I think she wanted to cast someone larger than life, but was actually a human being and who was able to shed their ego and take those leaps of faith needed to drive a joke home or to get the story point across that I love my daughter and I will do anything for her.  And we had a really good conversation in that hour and a half and after that, she said I had gotten the movie.  And in that hour and a half, we both expressed our feeling of the movie, where I thought the view was, and where she thought the view was.  So after that, we never really had to sit down and hash out, like what are we really doing here and why am I here?  I never had to have those conversations with her.  If anything, on set, she was so very astute and precise of like hey, try it like this.  You know what you were talking about way back when, give me some of that.  And it was brilliant, she was so easy to work with.  And man, the jokes, like every day was just how many punch lines they could come up with and how many we could squeeze into our organized 12 hour day.  So it was a pleasure working with her, she’s very driven, she’s got a bright future ahead of her, she is a gifted writer and I think that she is also a gifted director.

 

Relatable Story

JC: I was drawn towards the script because of the story.  I think the story is something we can all relate to.  Heading back towards the first question of if I have ever been blocked, and the age old dynamic of kids maturing and their parents not being able to deal with it.  This movie is as prime as a vehicle for that, but this movie pretty much sums up the parents saying ah, kids today!  People have been saying kids today, forever.  So I think it’s something that although it puts some scenes about technology and things in the movie, the story is about parents not understanding their kids, and kids just wanting to let their parents know that they are going to be alright.

 

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