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This Hilarious Peacemaker Episode 5 Scene Was Totally Improvised

Contains spoilers for "Peacemaker" Episode 5

Few people could have predicted what a slam dunk "Peacemaker" would turn out to be. This is saying something, considering that the HBO Max show comes from the reliably and entertainingly deranged mind of James Gunn, and focuses on one of the greatest characters in the director's "The Suicide Squad" — Christopher "Peacemaker" Smith, the murderous, 1980s rock-loving vigilante portrayed by John Cena. Yet, despite this strong starting point, people love "Peacemaker" even more than anyone could've guessed. Per Business Insider, as of January 22 the show was the hottest property in the world of streaming, and what's more, critics are loving it way more than any major DC movie so far.

A lot of this no doubt rides on Gunn's excellent story and direction, as well as details like the fun opening sequence and the glorious CGI creation that is Eagly. Still, the show's beating heart is its stellar cast, and Cena in particular brings an amazing range to his surprisingly deep character. He's also pretty adept at improv, and as it turns out, one of the most hilarious "Peacemaker" Episode 5 bits was totally improvised.

John Cena improvised Peacemaker's name-dropping speech

John Cena's improvisation is so good that, as James Gunn has stated on Twitter, the actor actually got to improvise "maybe 2% [of what ended up on screen], which is WAY more than any actor has ever had in anything I've written." 

A lot of that two percent likely went to Episode 5 of "Peacemaker," in which Cena's character delivers a truly magnificent rant to John Economos (Steve Agee) who, in a moment of misguided inspiration, framed Peacemaker's father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick), for his son's crimes. Peacemaker provides a stunning array of people Economos could and should have framed instead of Auggie — and, as Agee told Screen Rant in an interview, Cena improvised the whole thing on the spot, with Gunn egging him on from the sidelines.  

"That was all improvised," Agee said.  "I think in the original script, he's mad at me for framing his father – rightfully so, that was stupid – but in the script, it was just like, 'Why couldn't you have framed somebody like Ariana Grande?' And there was one other name, like Tom Hanks or something, and I was like, 'You want me to frame Ariana Grande for murder? Are you insane?' But James was like, 'Just keep going. Start naming names. Just name people.'" 

Cena did what the director asked, too, and ended up delivering far more hilarious material than they could ever hope to use. "I mean, we shot it for like 20 minutes of John just shouting random names –- sports figures, celebrities, singers, politicians -– and I would start to say something and he's just like, 'Let me finish!'" Agee revealed. "He just kept going and it was phenomenal."