11:25am PT by Rebecca Ford
John Cena Joins 'Transformers' Spinoff 'Bumblebee' (Exclusive)
John Cena has nabbed a lead role in the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee.
Hailee Steinfeld is leading the cast of Paramount's new film, which will center on the yellow and black bot Bumblebee. The pic will feature a young cast including Jorge Lendeborg, Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Ricardo Hoyos and Gracie Dzienny.
The story is set in the year 1987, where Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary yellow VW bug.
Travis Knight, who directed the stop-motion movie Kubo and the Two Strings, is helming Bumblebee from a script by Christina Hodson (Shut In). The movie project is the first spinoff in what the studio hopes will be a Transformers Cinematic Universe that will include prequels and offshoots from a line of movies that have generated more than $3.7 billion worldwide. The most recent film, Transformers: The Last Knight, hit theaters June 23, and has earned $568.9 million worldwide to date.
Bumblebee is being produced by franchise veterans Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Michael Bay, along with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. Chris Brigham will also executive produce.
The film kicked off production Monday in California. Paramount has set a new release date of Dec. 21, 2018, which puts Bumblebee opposite Warner Bros.' Aquaman.
Cena, known for his work as a star WWE wrestler, has been building up a notable acting career over the past few years. He was most recently seen in Doug Liman’s The Wall opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and in HBO's film Tour de Pharmacy. His other credits include Daddy's Home, Sisters and Trainwreck. Also serving as the host of American Grit on Fox, Cena will next be seen in Daddy’s Home 2 and Kay Cannon’s The Pact with Leslie Mann. He is repped by ICM Partners.