During an interview with FredCarpet in 2021, Vin Diesel talked about his experience in trying to find the right actor to play Jakob in “F9.” He said that he considered many different actors for the role, but he ultimately settled on John Cena for the role after the latter visited him at his gym. After Cena’s visit to his “Dom Shrine,” as he calls it, Diesel revealed that he believed that the late Paul Walker had sent Cena to him.
“That day I posted on Instagram, without talking to anyone, a picture of him and me, or a video of him and me,” Diesel said. “And I said, ‘Thank you, Pablo.’ Because at that moment, I thought that my brother Pablo had sent him to play Jakob.” For those confused, “Pablo” is an affectionate nickname that Diesel had for the late Walker. And while there may have been many capable actors who could have stepped into the role, it sounds like the choice to cast Cena was as much a spiritual one as it was a matter of talent.