With James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” arriving in theaters and HBO Max this weekend, there’s going to be a lot of talk about the new villains (or anti-heroes, if you prefer) that show up in the DC superhero film. And while you should really be excited for Idris Elba’s Bloodsport and David Dastmalchian’s scene-stealing Polka-Dot Man, many fans will have a keen eye on John Cena’s Peacemaker, as that character is already lined up for his own HBO Max series. And according to James Gunn, it’s John Cena’s performance as the character that really sold him on the solo series.
Speaking in an upcoming episode of The Fourth Wall podcast (coming to The Playlist Podcast Network later this week), James Gunn talked about the “Peacemaker” series and how John Cena’s surprising emotional acting skills really served as a jumping-off point for the superhero spinoff.
“One of the reasons why the ‘Peacemaker’ series exists is because there comes a certain point where Peacemaker shows some emotion,” explained Gunn. “I found out very early on that John Cena is an incredibly funny guy, he’s very humorous, but when I saw this other side of his acting, this soul and spirit that he has, that he lets you in, a vulnerability to that character, that’s what actually drove me to create the ‘Peacemaker series.’ Being able to see that side of the character that we don’t see very much of in the movie. We see that side of Polka-Dot Man, Bloodsport, even Harley, but not as much with him and so I wanted to give him a little bit more of an opportunity to do that.”
But don’t worry fans of James Gunn’s highly humorous and R-rated DC film, the “Peacemaker” series isn’t all an arthouse drama. There’s plenty more that the filmmaker wants to explore in the HBO Max show. In fact, another reason Gunn is so excited about the new series is the fact he believes Peacemaker is a character unlike anyone he’s ever written before.
“I love writing [the Peacemaker character] so much because he’s just such a unique character,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I’d written Peacemaker before. He’s this Alt-Right douchebag who really believes in what he’s doing and we’ll also find out that he’s also this incredibly, sexually debauch guy. It’s not like he’s a wilting flower in the corner that’s just straight ahead god and country, he’s a little bit more complex than that, he’s got some issues that he has to deal with a lot of which is what John [Cena] brought to the character. So that’s what excited me about him.”
While an official release date has yet to be announced, “Peacemaker” has been targeting a January debut on HBO Max. And as mentioned above, “The Suicide Squad” arrives on August 6.