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Peacemaker's Jennifer Holland Explains The True Talents Of John Cena - Exclusive

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having the spinoff series "Peacemaker" from the DC movie "The Suicide Squad" is that — along with eight more chapters of writer-director James Gunn's wild creativity — its characters are given much more depth than any filmmaker could ever squeeze into a two-hour story frame. As a result, fans have discovered with "Peacemaker" that there's a lot more to the likes of NSA Agent Emelia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and A.R.G.U.S. computer wizard John Economos (Steve Agee), and maybe the most surprising of all, the badass title character completely realized by John Cena.

In "The Suicide Squad," Peacemaker comes off as a brawny and perhaps brainless oaf who was extremely proficient at laying waste to the bad guys as Task Force X executed the directives of Project Starfish. Unfortunately, to follow through on Task Force X's plans, he had to make very difficult choices like deliberately killing the group's leader, Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), after the true intention behind their mission was exposed.

The resentment against Peacemaker's actions by the likes of Harcourt is naturally part of foundation of the "Peacemaker" series, which provides more complex layers to Holland's character in the series. However, as fans are discovering, there's a lot more depth to Peacemaker, too, and Cena is proving episode after episode that he can not only be as funny as he was in "The Suicide Squad," but show some nuance and emotional range.

Holland says Gunn realized Cena's range in The Suicide Squad

While the first episode of the series gets off to a comical start and the laughs continue throughout, Peacemaker's story broadens considerably when his hatemongering, racist father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick) is brought into the fold. Suddenly, Peacemaker — whose real name is Chris Smith — was forced to confront his tumultuous past, exposing a lot of old scars that never quite healed. In an exclusive interview with Looper to discuss the series, Holland said she was thrilled that Cena was given the opportunity to show his range of talents after his pivotal scene opposite Kinnaman in "The Suicide Squad."

"I'm so glad that people are noticing that and giving him the accolades, because the thing is that James wanted to move forward with this character in 'Peacemaker,' because he worked with John on 'The Suicide Squad,'" Holland said. "Those little moments that he has in 'The Suicide Squad' — if you watch the scene where he kills Rick Flag, you see this glimmer of regret or sadness, or this moment of humanity from him when that happens."

Witnessing Cena's potential, Holland said Gunn realized that there was "so much more depth to him, and he was capable of so much more in terms of the types of performances that he has ever been able to get the chance to play."

"I think James was really excited about being able to explore more depth with this character and being able to do it with John. He's one of the greatest guys in the business," Holland added. "I think he's wonderful. We were so lucky to have him as the leader of our crew."

Also starring Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, and Chukwudi Iwuji, the first seven episodes of "Peacemaker" are streaming exclusively on HBO Max, with the season finale set to debut Thursday, February 17.