"I drew a lot of inspiration out of him. In a way, I lived his life, his character for at least one-and-a-half year to play this," John said at the launch of the song "Ala Re Manya" from the Sanjay Gupta-directed gangster drama.
"When you see the film, you will find that I am not John Abraham, I am Manya Surve," he added.
A string of actors like Anil Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Sonu Sood, Tusshar Kapoor and Kangna Ranaut too feature in the cast of the film.
Meanwhile, John, who has portrayed varied roles, finds himself more attracted towards negative characters.
Sharing his fascination for grey characters, John said, "Normal is boring... Anyone can play a hero, to play negative has an edge," added John, who portrayed a baddie in Zinda, Dhoom and Race 2.
The intensity of his role will be unveiled when Shootout At Wadala will hit the theatres May 3.