***Disclosure: I attended the #Ferdinand Event My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by 20th Century Fox All opinions are 100% mine. ***
A couple of weeks ago I found myself attending CinemaCon for the first time for the upcoming movie: SNATCHED. A fun film that has both Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer. I’ll be giving you ALL the info about that next week, but we also had a SURPRISE interview with John Cena for his upcoming movie FERDINAND. The interview happened right before his EPIC WrestleMania win and proposal to his girlfriend Nikki Bella. First, let’s talk about Ferdinand the movie.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
“Ferdinand” tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.
From Blue Sky Studios and Carlos Saldanha, the director of “Rio” and inspired by the beloved book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, “Ferdinand” is a heartwarming animated comedy adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and many more.
Not only was John Cena super good looking, but he’s also just a good guy. Like me, most people just know him from his persona in wrestling. However, he has a heart of gold and it shines through in everything he does. Ferdinand is him. They cast the perfect “bull”. Now let’s get to the interview!
Q: How’d the whole thing start? How did you get involved with Ferdinand?
Mr. John Cena: At first I knew about the script, and they wanted me for a different part. But scheduling has been tough because I say yes to everything and then figure it all out, because I have a very good perspective of I live with a dream job. When opportunities come up that I like, I just say you know what? I’ll find more time in the day, but this is something I like and I want to try to do it. So, the guy who’s kind of in charge of all my time, he said, “You don’t have time to do this.” And we kind of just left it at that. The folks at Blue Sky and Fox came back and were like, “Well, we’ve re-circled our wagons, and we would like John to be Ferdinand.”
Then I was like, “Man, you are stupid if you pass on this,” not only because it’s such a great opportunity but it’s just a powerful story. In every aspect of it, I am Ferdinand. I’m the guy that can’t walk out onto a stage without them trying to blow something up or everybody on the street challenging me to a wrestling match, it’s just because of what they see and it’s what I am perceived as. There is a typecasting that goes with what we do, but I’m a human being. I love to go out on dates. I’m a different guy than what you see. What you see certainly is me, but I just couldn’t think of a better way to kind of tell my story through their story, and at least at the best I could do it. I’m like, “I get this, and I’ll be able to nail this.”
So, we worked it out. He found a way to shift around some shapes and make 30 to 35 hours in a day, and I was like, “All right, let’s do it.” So, it worked out, and I’m glad it did.
Q: So, how is adjusting to that voice acting?
Mr. John Cena: Well, I mean, they kind of sought me out because I have a powerful voice, I guess. They wanted somebody larger than life, yet at the same time somebody you could sit down and have a conversation with. It’s very endearing, not just a guy who’ll break through the wall and be like, “All right, let’s save the day.” So, we hooked up, and they were like, “Okay.” So, it’s not like they were like, “Hey, could you tweak your voice a bit to be Ferdinand?” Carlos [Saldanha], the guy who directed this thing, is amazing. He’s such an animator. He’s like just, for lack of a better term, so animated. He knows what he wants. And when you’re speaking, he has his head down and he kind of does this thing. Then when you get it, he goes, “Could you do, you know, maybe something a little more animated,” a little more of this and a little more of that? So, like, it’s just a matter of him seeing the movie and knowing what he wants and me being the voice of this enormously impactful character, and him kind of guiding me through that.
So, it’s not like I had to change my voice that much though. It’s pretty fun. It’s a fun experience, being in a sound booth alone with him. He’s a crazy man and you see the enjoyment and the passion in his eyes. He creates a whole art. Just to see the face of Ferdinand for the first time, you can just see so much emotion behind the eyes. It’s been a cool process. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.
Q: What are you hoping families walk away with after watching the film?
Mr. John Cena: First of all, I hope they see a great movie, because I really think it’s just a fun ride. It’s got all the entertainment of those animated movies that adults have to pleasantly watch 2,000 times. Like, “Oh, we got to see it again.” But I think it’s going to be one of those movies that you don’t mind seeing again. The thing that I find the most powerful, and I hate to shove moral fiber down people’s throats, but when you can tell a story and take people on a fun ride and also leave them walking away with something, give them a little bit to think about. It’s a great, famous tale about, there’s more than meets the eye. You don’t judge a book by its cover.
And nowadays, with us empowering individuals to just be you, I did a wonderful campaign with Crocs that’s just about to go everywhere called Come As You Are. And it just empowers people. And the reason Crocs did it, and the reason I gravitated towards that, is because they’re a brand that gets a lot of flack. They’re not exactly known as the forefront of style, but everybody owns Crocs because they’re so damn great. They’re great. So, when they were, like, “Hey, we see how powerful you are on social media,” but my character in WWE is both loved and viscerally hated. Because I’m such a goody two shoes, there’s a portion of our audience, mainly the adults, that want me to just turn bad. But I won’t, because I come as I am. I wear my jean shorts proud. I wear my ball cap and my wristbands, and they hate me for it. But there’s also people that can resonate with that, like, “Man, this guy says never give up.” And I believe in that.
So, that attracted the brand to me. And it’s the same with this movie. You have this big, enormous, softhearted, loving individual who, if you just look at him, you’d be like, “All right, don’t want to pick a fight with him at the end of the bar.” But it’s so much more than don’t let yourself go there. Don’t just become that because that’s what people perceive you as. And nowadays, like I said, we just empower individuals to Just be who you are. You don’t have to be this way or this way or this way, or just because people see you a certain way doesn’t mean you have to be a certain way. So, that I like, especially with certainly young, impressionable people. Ferdinand knows who he is the whole time. But also with his influence, he takes a group of eclectic folks and lets them see, like, “Wow, there’s more to life than what people just may see me as.” I hope they take that away from it.
From the creators of Rio and Ice Age. See Ferdinand in theaters this Christmas.