With an overabundance of video games all currently in the works and stuck in development hell, there is another one to add to the list: Duke Nukem. But, at least, progress on that seems to be moving as an actor is in talks for the eponymous role.
According to reports from Variety, wrestler-turned-actor John Cena is in talks to lead the Duke Nukem adaptation and star in the titular role. Paramount’s Platinum Dunes have the film in the works but there is currently no word on a director – or even a writer – attached. However, Cena’s involvement could indicate that the studio are looking to get things moving swiftly on the project so perhaps a writer and director could be locked in sooner rather than later and the film may end up coming to fruition in the very near future.
Video game adaptations don’t exactly have the best track record, though. For starters, most of them get caught in development limbo and have a hell of a time making it to the silver screen – if they ever do – and, usually, when they finally do arrive, they’re met with the cold shoulder from critics and audiences alike… It’s not exactly an easy task trying to think of a genuinely good video game movie that has released in the past few years – Wreck-It Ralph, perhaps, but that’s an original Disney project rather than an adaptation.
Whilst the character (not to mention, the games too) of Duke Nukem is very much a relic of its time – a brash, fast-talking, cigar chomping, muscle-head that goes around shooting aliens – the brilliance of John Cena’s possible casting cannot be denied. The actor can certainly imbue the physicality of the character that has since become his trademark, as well as bring charm and wit to the role too – as Cena’s work in Trainwreck, Daddy’s Home and Ferdinand have proven. He’s a good actor, and the idea of him playing an iconic – albeit bygone and dated – video game character such as Duke Nukem is one that has piqued my interest. The film could certainly lend itself to a fun sci-fi, alien shoot-em-up premise – if it ever happens – but, with no other talent or names aboard the project, whether it actually ever sees the screen any time soon with Cena in the lead, remains to be seen.