Dave Bautista: “I couldn’t get people to give me an opportunity as an actor” – La Tercera

A bruised replicant with a past that haunts him. A veteran in the middle of a futuristic Civil War. The most irate and heartbroken member of a squad of eccentric superheroes. The assistant to the head of a hospital for criminals.

Not all are particularly original roles, but they have led the career of American Dave Bautista (52) towards a scenario that no one could have anticipated eight years ago, when he was made official as the second actor to join the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. He came to director James Gunn’s film as pro wrestling champion Dave Bautista; Today, in addition to his fame as the warrior Drax in the Marvel saga, he is also known as a James Bond villain (Specter), a fledgling comic actor (Stuber, Great spies) and a great secondary in Blade Runner 2049.

“I am an actor who is still learning. So I always want to play different characters, to feel like I’m growing as an actor. I love the character of Drax, and it changed my life, it literally changed the direction of my life, and I will always be grateful. But at the same time I still have the desire to be a better actor, so every time I can do something new and refreshing it is always special to me, “he says on the phone with Worship in the preview to release The army of the dead, Zack Snyder’s film about a zombie apocalypse and a millionaire robbery.

Dave Bautista I couldnt get people to give me an
Baptist as Scott Ward. Photo: Netflix © 2021

The film, his first film with Netflix -available from Friday on the platform-, gives him the main role, a war veteran who faces an impossible mission with a group of mercenaries willing to go for a loot that is located in Las Vegas . The big problem is not only the secret vault that houses the millions, but the city is the epicenter of the undead.

Bautista refused to participate in the new film by his friend James Gunn (Suicide squad, which debuts in August) in exchange for portraying Scott Ward in the story, a role of a tough guy with unfinished business with his adult daughter, which allows him to challenge the idea that a man with his past can play only one type of character. characters in the cinema

His on-screen presence -today in The army of the dead and in October in Dune, by Denis Villeneuve- comes preceded by a tumultuous life. He had a childhood with an absent father and a mother who tried to raise her family in a poor neighborhood in Washington, then in his youth he was involved in a series of crimes and, as he himself has said, squandered his 20s, until he lived the ups and downs of WWE.

Today he is part of a group of former wrestling competitors on Hollywood’s front lines, a troop led by Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, and recently followed by John Cena. But Bautista hates being compared to them and is completely unmarked. In a 2019 interview he was categorical: “Those guys are fighters who became movie stars. I am something else. I was a fighter. Now I am an actor ”.

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The actor alongside Ella Purnell, who plays his daughter in the film. Photo: Clay Enos / Netflix © 2021

-It is well known that you consider that you began your life at 30, then became WWE champion and then began a career in the cinema. What has been the most difficult of all these years?

Wrestling. I can easily say that it was the hardest. Acting was challenging, but it’s because I couldn’t get people to give me a chance, I couldn’t get people to agree to audition, I couldn’t get an agent. The people who could give me a chance didn’t understand professional wrestling or the world I come from. But there is nothing more challenging than that, at least what I have done in my life. It’s a 365-day-a-year job. The only time you rest is when you get injured. It takes your family life, your personal life. My family life was destroyed when I was wrestling. I would not change things. I would change some decisions that I made, but I would not change things because I was pursuing my dream. And now I am in a place where I can support every member of the family that I have. It turned me into a man.

-In an interview a couple of years ago he said that he immediately connected with Sylvester Stallone, because he was also an athlete and an artist, and they starred together Escape plan 2: Hades. Is he a figure you think about every time you have to choose which role to play and which not to play?

That particular project you’re talking about I took it because I wanted to work with Stallone (laughs). I respect what he did with his career, and he’s also an amazing actor. That’s the same connection I had with Zack (Snyder). When I met Zack, I went to his office, which was part office and part gym. In fact, I stole that idea from him and made myself a little place like that in Tampa. I connect with these guys for those reasons. Guys like that in Hollywood are not easy to find. I feel like these are guys I can learn from. There is a lesson for me there. Because it’s not always easy to look at myself for having a history in professional wrestling. It is not simple for people to ignore that and see that I really love acting, I love cinema. Sometimes to try to convince people that this is true you have to have a long conversation. And sometimes there are people who don’t give you a chance to have that conversation because you are covered in tattoos, because you are so tall and full of muscles.

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Bautista and Zack Snyder on set. Photo: Clay Enos / Netflix © 2021

– With Zack Snyder did you learn something about acting that perhaps you did not know after these years of career?

It’s strange. I never felt like Zack was really trying to take control of my performance. What I found really interesting is that I saw Zack trying to cover my performance with his camera. He was just trying to capture certain specific moments of my performance. I also felt a sense of respect because he trusted me to act the way I wanted, or the way I believed to be the right way.

-Now that you worked with him, do you think Zack Snyder occupies the place he deserves in the industry?

I do not know. I think so, because he is highly respected. But sometimes I feel like fans of his movies, fans of his products, tend to overlook art, and I think people in the film industry appreciate and respect it. The common denominator among all his films is that they are all visually impressive, they are visually exceptional. But I also think he’s a great storyteller. I think the more control you give Zack, the better the product will be. He is one of the best filmmakers in the industry.

Dave Bautista I couldnt get people to give me an
Dave Bautista and James Gunn.

-What excites you the most today: a couple of new movies from The army of the dead or more tapes playing Drax?

Right now the answer would be Drax. And I have to say it because, man, it’s been an incredible journey with the Guardians. I love everything I’ve done with Marvel, but you have to understand that when I think of Guardians, I think of family members. With (James) Gunn we started this journey together and we’ve been waiting to make this movie for years (part three) to finish this journey, because it feels like a complete circle. When we started it was kind of a gamble. If you look at what has happened to us … Now Chris Pratt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world! When he took that job he wasn’t. I walked the streets of London with Chris and more people knew who I was. Chris can no longer walk down the street. So right now I really want to do this, because I want to close this chapter. The closure is very important to me. I feel like all the stars are aligned, and we can conclude this chapter in the right way, the way it should be. And I’m looking forward to it.