Pro Wrestling Champ Gets Ready for His Close-Up

ByABC News
October 11, 2006, 4:02 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2006 — -- Mr. DeMille, professional wrestler-turned-actor John Cena is ready for his first close-up.

Cena is making his film debut in "The Marine," which opens nationwide on Friday.

It remains to be seen whether the film will have the same kind of memorable lines that made 1950's "Sunset Boulevard" a cinema classic.

But the World Wrestling Entertainment champion admits that his stomach is tied up in knots.

"It's exciting, but I won't sugarcoat it. I'm nervous about it," Cena told "My own acting aspirations aside, there is a lot riding on this film. It's a chance for WWE as a brand to redirect, reinvent itself. If it is a success, I'm ready for it. At the same point in time, if it is not, I'm ready to adjust accordingly."

World Wrestling Entertainment -- formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation -- hopes Cena will be one of the marquee stars of WWE Films, its Los Angeles-based film and television company formed in 2002.

"The Marine" is the second movie produced by WWE Films to come to the big screen.

Its first, "See No Evil," starring WWE wrestler Kane -- a 7-foot, 326-pound version of Uncle Fester -- opened last May and earned slightly more than $15 million domestically.

In "The Marine," Cena plays John Triton, a soldier who is discharged involuntarily and becomes embroiled in a personal battle against a band of thugs led by Robert Patrick (of "X-Files," "Terminator 2" and "Walk the Line" fame) when they kidnap his wife during a random encounter at a gas station.

The action flick is full of testosterone, with fight scenes, explosions, and car-chase scenes galore.

No Oscar buzz is expected to greet "The Marine," but Cena said fans would be surprised to see that the film offered more than an adrenaline rush.

"I really encourage fans to see the movie," he said. "Each character has their own story, and you really get to know each and every one of these characters. There's also a lot of humor in there."