'The Marine' director excited for Cena's debut
John Bonito, the acclaimed director of The Marine, was pleased with the reception the John Cena film received at the world premiere last week at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The action-packed movie is in theaters now.
"We saw The Marine for the first time on the big screen with the Marines," Bonito told WWE.com after the premiere. "It's crazy -- they laughed everywhere they were supposed to, and they went wild where they were supposed to, so it really worked really well. You sweat things like this, you know? And then you come and represent the Marines on a Marine base, so you want everything to hit on all cylinders, and it did. They loved it."
Bonito said he'd seen the movie "a million times" before the world premiere, so rather than watching it again, he studied the audience's reaction instead.
"You look at body language and you know what scenes are stronger than others, and you know what drags and what really hits hard," Bonito said. "You want to watch the audience's body language and people reacted really well, and it was exciting. I think everybody's happy."
The director noted that the WWE Champion's performance as John Triton made the audience full of Marines and WWE fans go wild in the theater.
"When John was onscreen, the crowd went insane. They love John Cena. John has a natural charisma, a natural charm, and the camera loves him. So every time he was onscreen, they went nuts. John did a great, great job. He should be proud," Bonito said. "We shot him out of a cannon, we blew him up several times, we hit him with a bunch of bullets and he kept coming back -- because of his physique, it's almost believable. So the movie turns into Roadrunner vs. The Coyote at one point, but I think John had a lot of fun with that."
It wasn't only Cena the crowd went wild for. TV and film star, Kelly Carlson, who plays his wife, Kate, in The Marine, earned plenty of audience applause at the world premiere.
"The guys went crazy every time Kelly was onscreen. They loved her fight scene with Abigail [Bianca]. That went over really well. Kelly delivered. The guys love Kelly," Bonito said.
The director attributes much of the movie's success and tone to WWE. Executive Producer and WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, conferred with Bonito on The Marine.
"WWE took everything very seriously. Vince McMahon wanted a straight-ahead action movie in the theme of First Blood or Breakdown or Commando," Bonito said. "I shot a lot of old versions knowing I was going to show it to Vince to see what he thought, and he liked the comedic take on it, so it worked out really well."
Whether Bonito knew it or not, another WWE influence in The Marine is a chokeslam Cena delivers to a bad guy.
"The crowd loved the chokeslam. The truth is, I am not a wrestling fan, I don't watch, I had no idea, I just thought it would be really cool to end it with this guy getting grabbed by his throat and just his entire body picked up by another human being and just thrown down through boxes. I just thought it would be cool to do that. I had no idea it was called the chokeslam. It's just a pure coincidence. And John never mentioned it -- John probably assumed I knew," Bonito said.
Overall, Bonito was extremely pleased with the premiere and was eager for the national release of The Marine.
"Having seen everything I saw today at Camp Pendleton, it's just been an incredible day," Bonito said. "These people are amazing and the culminate with the premiere of The Marine on the base here with everybody cheering and laughing when they were supposed to, I couldn't have asked for this thing to go any better. I had a great time."
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