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SYFY WIRE Peacemaker

Yes, that really was John Cena playing that gorgeous Motley Crue cover on piano in 'Peacemaker'

Professional wrestler, actor, and... piano player?

By Josh Weiss
John Cena Peacemaker PRESS

Turns out John Cena is a professional wrestler, actor, and... piano player? Posting on Twitter Friday, James Gunn revealed that Peacemaker's touching piano cover of Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home" in Episode 6 of the HBO Max series was not played by a hand double, but by Cena himself. Gunn, who created the show, learned about the actor's talent during production on The Suicide Squad.

"While we were shooting The Suicide Squad in Panama, I got word my dog of nearly 17 years was about to pass away. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I decided to fly home for a day to be with him. I sat in the hotel lobby bar with John waiting to be taken to the airport," the filmmaker recalled in a flurry of follow-up tweets. "John got up and sat at the grand piano and played the most beautiful rendition of The Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind.' It crushed me and yet soothed me and everyone around me was crying. I wanted to capture some semblance of that moment with this song."

He continued: "Chris Smith is an artist who has been decimated by this world. He's been decimated by who his parents are, what his surroundings are, and the entire culture he's been brought up in. This is not to say he is not culpable; he is. But he is emotionally mute, unable to express himself. I think when he's playing the piano here it's the first time we've really seen him. Everything else has been noise and drama and puffery."

Read the full story of how it all came together below:

A nice counterbalance to Peacemaker's more bombastic tendencies, this quiet musical moment follows a short exchange between Chris and Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) in which the latter states that our antihero isn't as bad a person as she initially thought. Peacemaker sits down to play the piano, achieving a modicum of inner peace before Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) bursts the bubble, informing us that the diary Adabayo (Danielle Brooks) planted is public knowledge and that Christopher Smith is now the most wanted person in the country. 

Cena's cover version (arranged by composer John Murphyhas been added to Spotify if you're interested in taking another listen.

Episodes 1-6 of Peacemaker are now streaming on HBO Max. The penultimate episode premieres on the subscription streaming service next Thursday (Feb. 10). Gunn is currently in talks with Warner Bros. to lock down a second season. "The show is doing extraordinarily well, and we’re excited, we all like doing it, we just need to cross some Ts and dot some Is, which is basically me," he said last month.