John Cena Says It's 'Not True' That He's Playing the Villain in 'Fast 9' (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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The cast of F9gathered in Miami on Friday to debut the first trailer for the upcoming ninth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise. The preview promises fast cars and international espionage and reveals, at long last, John Cena's character: He plays Dom's brother, Jakob Toretto, a master thief and assassin recruited by Cipher (Charlize Theron) to kill Dom.
But according to Cena himself, saying he plays the movie's villain is "not true."
"We'll leave it for the audience, we'll leave it for the Fast family around the world to decide who's bad and who's good," he told ET's Nischelle Turner at The Road to F9 fan fest. "Keep in mind, the trailer shows just enough for you to have a ton of questions -- and me not to be able to answer any of them!"
"That's fair," Vin Diesel agreed. "You're going to have to decide. Like, all the characters in this saga, they are multidimensional and there are no cookie-cutter characters. They all have layers, as we've seen... But we're so excited about this!"
Though F9 will unite many cast members old and new -- including surprise returnees Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang -- it marks the second F&F film made following the death of Paul Walker. While the late actor's legacy is always on Diesel's mind while making these movies -- "We would talk about the crazy notion of seeing a Fast 10 someday and we're that much closer to honoring that" -- he feels like Walker had a hand in Cena's casting.
"[Cena] came to meet me at my gym right before we were shipping out to make the movie, and I put a post on Instagram that said, 'Thank you Pablo,'" Diesel said, "because I felt like someone had brought me the right person to play Jakob."
Cena is now the latest Fast family member to come from the world of wrestling, after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Furious 7's Ronda Rousey and Hobbs & Shaw's Joe 'Roman Reigns' Anoa'i. Though Cena already has plenty of non-WWE credits to his name, he has a theory of why wrestlers feel so at home in the F&F franchise.
"There's a certain passion for WWE. Whenever new performers come in, we always size them up and question their passion," Cena explained. "The Fast legacy and the family is the same way. They're very meticulous with their choices, because you need to be passionate [and] you need to know the responsibility to fans across the world."
"So I think it's a perfect fit for WWE Superstars to join the Fast family," he said. "And vice versa! I think a lot of members of the Fast family would make great WWE Superstars!"