John Cena Duke Nukem
John Cena in a WWE ring and Duke Nukem. WWE / Gearbox

Former WWE Champion and nascent film star John Cena is in talks to play the lead role in a big screen adaptation of campy video game series Duke Nukem being produced by Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Cena, 40, may take up the role of Nukem: a knowing pastiche of machismo and action hero clichés who has starred in around a dozen games since his debut in 1991.

The role would be the latest in a string of high-profile parts for Cena, who has spent much of the last two years transitioning away from his in-ring career.

The 16-time world champion made his big screen debut in WWE-produced action movie The Marine in 2006, but his Hollywood career really took off with a trio of funny bit-parts in high-profile comedies Trainwreck, Daddy's Home and Sisters in 2015.

He's since appeared in war movie The Wall and Daddy's Home 2, as well as starring in animated feature Ferdinand. This year he's set to star in comedy Blockers and Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, opposite Hailee Steinfeld.

Between filming he's made numerous appearances in WWE, including during last night's edition of Monday Night Raw (22 January) celebrating 25 years of the weekly show. It didn't end well for him however, as he had a guitar smashed over his back.

Cena is likely to return to the ring more often over the coming months, as WWE gears up for this year's edition of Wrestlemania in April.

Duke Nukem, famed for his tidy blonde flat-top hair style, red vest and penchant for murdering aliens, was created by Apogee Software. His most famous outing was Duke Nukem 3D in 1996, developed by 3D Realms.

The Duke returned in 2011 with long-awaited sequel Duke Nukem Forever, but the game suffered a famously long and troubled development, resulting in a product that was savaged by critics upon release.