John Cena recently opened up about why he feels Jackie Chan is one of the best people to work with in the industry. While many actors often praise their colleagues, Cena was not shy about his genuine admiration for Chan. The two co-star in the upcoming action film, Project X-Traction, due to release later this year.
Cena spoke with Collider earlier this month about his time on set with the Hong-Kong martial-artist and his feelings that Chan is greatly underappreciated. Cena recalled that in between takes, Chan would clean the set, treat the staff as if they were family and use their environment for improvisation.
“Jackie is once-in-a-generation, maybe, possibly the last, just because of the way things are done and the way entertainment is skewing. He’s certainly our generation’s great physical storyteller,” Cena told the outlet.
Cena went on to say that he was always fascinated by Chinese culture, which increased in 2012 when the WWE had a show in Shanghai. The actor had studied Mandarin for about five years when he was tapped to play alongside Chan in Project X-Traction. As part of his dedication to learning the language, Cena gave a press conference where he spoke fluent Mandarin, which caught the attention of Chan.
The John Cena-Jackie Chan Project
The duo’s upcoming film features Cena as a former U.S. Marine and Chan as a private Chinese security contractor that are forced to team up to stop an attack in Iraq. The film originally had Sylvester Stallone playing Cena’s role, but the wrestler replaced the Rambo star in 2018. While it wasn’t said as to why Stallone was cut, Cena was grateful for the opportunity and saw it as a dream come true. Project X-Traction was shot entirely in China and is set to be released sometime this year.
Neither star is unfamiliar with playing these particular types of roles. The professional wrestler began acting in several action movies in the late 2000s, often landing the lead. His first major role was the 2006 action-comedy, The Marine. Cena, who’s also starring in Dolittle, Fast & Furious 9 and The Suicide Squad, also stated that working with Chan was one of the best experiences of his life.
Chan, of course, has been in the industry since the 1960s. He first landed a few small but notable parts before gaining more attraction later on for his roles in Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. It would only be destiny that the two would end up working alongside each other. For Cena, it was a moment in his life that he will obviously never forget.