John Cena says he was was told Barbie was "beneath" him

Barbie star John Cena has revealed that he was told his role in the film was "beneath him".

Released in 2023 to commercial and critical acclaim, Greta Gerwig's plastic fantastic adventure film featured an all star cast besides its leads of Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera – including wrestler-turned-actor John Cena in a brief cameo as a 'Mer-Ken' alongside Dua Lipa.

Appearing on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show on 21 February, though, Cena revealed his agency told the star that the film was below his pay-grade – but that it was the film's titular star (Robbie) who helped bring him into Barbieland.

margot robbie, barbie
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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"I think the perspective from an agency standpoint was: ‘This is beneath you,’ which I get that," he said, before explaining that his agency had not acted out of malice.

"But also to the agency’s credit, immediately they acted … but all they can do is offer their guidance. They’re not ultimately making the choice and their guidance is, ‘Hey, truly, trickle-down economics from this might take you out of these lead leap slots.’

"And I get all that. I’ve always operated under the philosophy of good work gets you another chance."

john cena
NBC - Getty Images

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Continuing, Cena shared just how Robbie worked her pink magic to convince him to appear, despite his agency's objections.

"They’re just going on what they know," Cena said. "And what they know is: 'This entity, this commodity, gravitates towards these things, we should stay in this lane.' But I’m not a commodity. I’m a human being, and I operate under the construct of every opportunity is an opportunity.

"I read the script of the movie and I tried my hardest to be in the movie, but we were filming Fast Five, filming next door. And then when I finally got connected with the people who can make the decisions and Margot was like, 'We’ll make you a mermaid. You’ll be in it for half a day.' Yeah, sure."

Barbie is available to buy or rent in the UK from Prime Video, iTunes, Microsoft Store and more, as well as being available to watch on Max in the US.

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