F9 Star John Cena Reveals How They Kept His Role a Secret While Filming

John Cena stepped into one of the biggest franchises around with F9, and it wasn't in a small role either. Cena took on the role of Jakob Toretto, Dom's mysterious brother that has been kept a secret until now. That's a pretty big deal, and it wasn't something fans knew about until the first trailer hit. That wasn't by accident, and the studio went to great lengths to keep Cena's role a secret until they were finally ready to showcase it. In a new interview with Digital Spy, Cena revealed how they kept his role as a Toretto secret until the big reveal, and it came down to hiding the "one definable" element of that connection.

That element was the Toretto cross, which he wears around his neck, and if people had spotted that cross in set photos or footage it would've tipped the film's hand. The crew and Cena were hyper-aware of this during filming and made sure to remove it whenever they weren't filming.

"After every take, take it off, hide it, give it to someone," Cena said. "The costumes are the costumes and they can be whatever you needed it to be, but if there was ever a candid with a coffee in my hand and the cross, that's a dead giveaway. It's amazing that that one piece of jewelry has so much energy and gravity around it. That was the one thing I put on before they said roll and as soon as they said cut, I would take it off, and that was how we kept everything under wraps."

While Cena had to be aware of where the cross was when not filming, it didn't deter from his experience on the project, and it got off to a great start when Vin Diesel said he felt as though Paul Walker "had sent him in" in regards to his first meeting with Cena about the character.

Cena said it was hard to "wrap your mind around" that because of Walker's legacy, and added "I have to believe that Vin wouldn't use those words and throw them away because of how he feels about Paul, Paul's family and Paul's body of work. I just don't feel like that's wasted. "At the same time, I also think it's maybe his way of saying, 'Hey, I know you're new to this 20-year ball of fire, but give it all you've got and we'll be the best, most welcoming people that you've ever worked with'. And he was absolutely right."

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F9 is in theaters now.