If you’re a comic book fan, you’re quite familiar with the name Mark Millar. If you’re not a comic book fan, you’re probably still familiar with at least some of his work. The prolific scribe is the mastermind behind the comics that became the films Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Wanted. He also wrote the comic arcs that inspired (at least in part) Marvel’s The Avengers and Civil War films. So yeah. He’s kind of a big deal when it comes to comic books.
So when Millar says that he’s completely in love with John Cena to play the lead in Superior, his latest superhero comic adaptation that is currently in development, we had all better sit up and pay attention. If Cena is getting into the superhero movie game, there’s a whole new area of the world where The Rock will need to watch his back. Especially now that Cena is becoming more of a part-time player in WWE and is hoping someone will take his place sooner rather than later.
In an email to Comicbook.com, Millar explained his singleminded focus of getting Cena in the starring role for the film, which is about a young boy with MS who gets a wish granted and is transformed into his favorite superhero. Sort of sounds like it’s right up Cena’s alley, doesn’t it?
“Superior‘s a project we’ve been developing for a little while and different actors have been on everyone’s radar. It’s a fun story, the conceit being Big meets Superman, so it needs to be someone who can pull off the comedy. Just as Kingsman: The Secret Service was for people who missed fun spy movies, Superior is for people who miss Christopher Reeve making little jokes and rescuing cats from trees. I even dedicated the book to Dick Donner and Christopher Reeve because Superman The Movie was the most formative experience of my life in terms of what I wanted to do when I grew up.
“So it needed to be an actor who didn’t take himself too seriously and could do the funny moments as well as the poignant ones. It also needed to be someone a 12 year old boy would make a magic wish to be. Bryan Cranston and Robert DeNiro are amazing actors, for example, but they’re not going to be who a kid closes his eyes and wishes they were. A wrestler kind of is and some pals had suggested John Cena in the past, but I’d only seen him play a very, very small role in a comedy last year.”
Millar says the light bulb for casting Cena went off the instant he saw Cena in Trainwreck. He says he began texting people about getting Cena on board for Superior before the Amy Schumer film was even over. He — like a lot of moviegoers — was blown away by Cena’s comic timing and personality and he got the ball rolling as soon as he possibly could. Of course, the fact that Cena literally looks like a superhero helps, but that’s not the entire appeal.
“John physically looks perfect for the part, but that’s only 10% of why I think he works. It’s the heart of the character he seems to embody very well and I love the fact that he’s done more Make A Wish hospital visits than any other actor or athlete in America. I think he’s done around 500 of them now and that just seems incredibly in keeping with the character. This was one single tweet at the weekend, a thought out loud when I was watching a movie and it went everywhere, which is usually a sign that you’re onto something interesting.”
Millar says that he and Cena are already in touch and everyone involved with the movie is aware that Cena is his No. 1 choice with a bullet to play the lead role. So fingers crossed that the man who has been the biggest superhero in WWE for the past decade-plus — the man who seems put on this Earth to be a superhero — will finally get the superhero movie he (and all rational people everywhere) deserve.