Paramount Pictures has entered early talks with actor and WWE Superstar John Cena to star in their Duke Nukem video game adaptation. The project currently doesn’t have a writer or director in place, but it is being set up under the Paramount-based production company Platinum Dunes, run by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. With John Cena now eyed to star, it may not be long before the project is up and running with a writer and director.
Last year during the E3 Convention, Gearbox Studios CEO Randy Pitchford revealed they’re, “putting together a deal with a major motion picture studio” for this Duke Nukemvideo game adaptation, but he wouldn’t state what studio. Now that the deal has been finalized with Paramount, and with the star falling into place to play the title character, this project could be put on the fast track, but that all depends on how long it takes to bring a writer on board to develop the screenplay. Regardless, after more than two decades in development, it seems possible this movie could finally come to fruition.
Back in 1996, producer Lawrence Kasanoff revealed he was developing a movie based on the Duke Nukem video game, but that project never moved past the pre-production phase, due to funding issues. The producer announced again in 2001 that he had plans to produce a live-action video game adaptation, but that never came to fruition either. While promoting the theatrical release of another video game adaptation, Max Payne, producer Scott Faye revealed in an interview that he had plans to make a Duke Nukem movie, but that project never happened either. Now it seems the time is right for this iconic video game character to finally make his way to the big screen.
The Duke Nukem video game was first released in 1991 for PC/MS-DOS formats, with the sequel Duke Nukem II debuting in 1993, and Duke Nukem 3D arriving in 1996, on multiple platforms including MS-DOS, Mac OS (1997), Sega Saturn (1997), PlayStation (1997), Nintendo 64 (1997) and on the Sega Mega Drive (Brazil only) (1998). The game would be ported over to the Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, with an iOS to follow in 2009, Android in 2011, Steam (Windows, OS X & Linux) in 2013, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2015), and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 formats in 2016. Duke Nukem Forever was released in 2011 on Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, following Gearbox Software acquiring the rights to the property in 2010. There have also been a number of spin-offs and portable games, but the Duke Nukem Forever game in 2011 remains the last release in the franchise, thus far.
While he still may be best known as a WWE Superstar, John Cena has been putting together an impressive acting resume as of late. He reprised his role as Roger in Paramount’s comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2, and he provided the voice of the title character in 20th Century Fox’s animated movie Ferdinand. He will next be seen in the lead role in Paramount’s Bumblebee spin-off, and there has been talk that he’ll star in a Knight Rider reboot with Kevin Hart as well. Variety broke the news on this casting earlier today.