Wrestler-turned-actor John Cena is no stranger to violence. He can currently be seen in the very blue DC show Peacemaker, reviving his fascist do-gooder from James Gunn’s cheerfully R-rated The Suicide Squad. Now he’s lending his voice, at least, to one of the most violent classic cartoons.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cena is set to play a key role in Coyote vs. Acme, a riff on the Looney Tunes shorts involving Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote, the perpetually hapless predator who wants nothing more than to catch and devour the ever-elusive Road Runner.
Mind you, Cena won’t be voicing Mr. Coyote, who’s voice is seldom heard (at least in the ones with the Roadrunner; he speaks with a lovely Mid-Atlantic accent in the ones where he’s pursuing others, like Bugs Bunny). The plot of the film, based on a much-liked 1990 New Yorker humor article of the same name, is summarized by THR like so:
The feature will tell the story of a down-on-his-luck (human) attorney who takes on Wile E. as a client in his suit against Acme over its defective products, only to discover that his boss at his former law firm is representing Acme.
Cena voices the attorney’s former boss.
First launched in 1949, the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons were director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese’s attempts to parody the chase cartoons that had come to dominate the likes of Looney Tunes and particularly Tom and Jerry shorts by their rivals at MGM. The nearly 50 shorts they created during the Golden Age were stripped down, minimalist affairs, comprised of nothing but one gag after another, always ending in magnanimous, humiliating, and very violent defeat. Wile E. regularly spent money ordering gizmos and weapons from the proto-Amazon company Acme, which always backfired in some spectacular, gruesome fashion.
In the meantime, HBO Max subscribers can go to the streamer, where a heaping helping of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner shorts — plus hundreds of other classic Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies — reside. Here is but a taste from the maiden voyage, the excellently named Fast and Furry-ous.