Vin Diesel just knew that there was something about John Cena.
While promoting the latest installment of the The Fast and the Furious franchise, the action star explained what happened when he met with Cena, who was auditioning to play the new character of his brother.
“Now the idea of the brother worked great on paper, but when the time came to cast it, anxiety. Who could you cast to be Dom’s brother and 20 years into the game?” Diesel said Wednesday on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “The audience knows our mythology so much.”
But Cena was a fit.
“I had this strange feeling that Paul Walker had sent him,” Diesel explained.
The xXx star even documented his feeling on social media at the time, calling Walker by the nickname he had given him, “Pablo.”
Walker, of course, co-starred alongside Diesel in the action movies until he died unexpectedly in a car crash in 2013. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, and the two had been on their way to a charity event outside Los Angeles. He was just 40 years old.
Since then, Diesel — whose real name is Mark Sinclair — has remained close with Walker’s daughter, Meadow, who’s now 22. She happens to be his goddaughter and considers him family.
Diesel regularly pays tribute to his late friend. Earlier this month, in fact, he said Meadow had sent him a snapshot of him and her father ahead of the F9 release on June 25. He said the image filled him with “emotion, purpose and ultimately gratitude.”
“Eternal brotherhood is a blessing beyond words,” he added. “Hope to make you proud.”
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