John Cena2
John Cena Image Credit: AP

Cena joins the Hollywood franchise playing Vin Diesel’s estranged brother

John Cena, who is the newest cast member to join the ‘Fast and Furious’ family, has apologized to China for calling Taiwan a country during the promotions of ‘F9’.

Cena has joined the Hollywood film franchise as Vin Diesel’s long-lost brother, playing terrorist mastermind Jakob Torreto. The incident happened last week during the media interviews of the film when Cena let it slip during a chat with TV station TVBS, based in Taipei, that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch” his new action movie.

Vin Diesel and John Cena in F9
Vin Diesel and John Cena in F9 Image Credit: Universal Studios

The political faux pas happened as China asserts that Taiwan is a part of their country. The outcry in China was swift with many taking to the country’s Twitter counterpart, Sina Weibo, to voice their displeasure soon after Cena’s interview aired.

In response, the former WWW star put up a video apologising to the people of China, while speaking in fluent Mandarin.

“I must say, this is very, very, very, very, very, very important, I love and respect China and Chinese people,” the actor said in Mandarin in a video posted on Chinese social media site Weibo. “I am very very sorry for my mistake. You must understand, I really love and respect China and Chinese people. I did a lot of interviews. In one interview, I made a mistake.”

Cena, apparently, has been studying Mandarin for years so he could help promote his sport overseas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Whether or not the apology gas been accepted, producers Universal Studios were forced to cancel a promotional event in Shanghai after the interview was aired, claiming a nonspecific security threat.

F9 Image Credit: Universal Studios

‘F9’, out in UAE cinemas, reunites Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Ludacris to take down terrorist and Dom’s brother Jakob Torreto who is on the loose with Cipher (Charlize Theorn) along for the ride. The film also marks the return of Sung Kang as Han Lue, who seemingly died in a collision in the climax of ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ at the hands of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham( but not really. He played mentor to Sean Boswell in the film, who also reportedly shows up in ‘F9’ as does Helen Mirren who plays Deckard Shaw’s mother.

The film is directed by Justin Lin, his fourth directorial for the franchise. The latest instalment in kicked off with a $162.4 million (Dh596.5 million) haul in eight markets, including China, Korea and Hong Kong giving the film the biggest opening for a Hollywood blockbuster since COVID-19 hit.