A ‘Duke Nukem’ movie is actually in the works, and it could star John Cena

john cena in talks duke nukem movie johncenadukenukem
Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures
And his name is … Duke Nukem? WWE star John Cena has dipped his toes into the acting waters before, starring in the action movie The Marine and the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, and he even hosted Saturday Night Live last year, but his latest project could be his magnum opus. Cena is reportedly negotiating for a lead role in a Duke Nukem movie, and we want literally nothing more in the entire world.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cena is currently in talks to star in Duke Nukem with the production company Platinum Dunes, run in part by Michael Bay. Bay is no stranger to video game adaptations, signing on to help Ubisoft and Warner Bros. develop a film based on Ghost Recon back in 2013.

No writer or director has been chosen for the film yet, but if you’ve ever played a Duke Nukem game, you know the actual game isn’t particularly important — it’s all about Duke Nukem and his dumb one-liners.

The live-action Duke Nukem will certainly sound different to longtime fans of the games. In the majority of his appearances, he has been played by Jon St. John, who made the character famous with his gruff voice and over-the-top inflection.

The Duke Nukem franchise hasn’t exactly been relevant in recent years, with its humor and tone definitely suited for the ’90s. Its most recent main entry, Duke Nukem Forever, was in development hell for years before finally being released by Gearbox Software. The game received scathing reviews and found Gearbox’s PR firm The Redner Group in hot water after it threatened to blacklist journalists who disliked the game — the game’s publisher 2K Games parted ways with the firm shortly thereafter.

Still, with a modern coat of paint and the right creative team involved, there’s no reason John Cena shouldn’t be able to make Duke Nukem a fun time. He’s shown a knack for comedy already, and with a pair of sunglasses, a tank top, and a cigar, the resemblance will be uncanny. That is, of course, unless we just see a floating pair of sunglasses, a tank top, and a cigar in the film.


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