“I finally got an agent, like, two weeks before I got the audition for Guardians. My agent says ‘You know, I really had to fight to get you this audition.” – Dave Bautista
Pro wrestlers have made major inroads into acting in recent years. While earlier wrestling legends like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant had appeared in movies, it wasn’t until Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that pro wrestlers became major film stars. One of the biggest names to follow in The Rock’s footsteps is Dave Bautista, who appeared in a handful of roles before he achieved stardom as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. Though Guardians of the Galaxy was a relatively unknown comic book series by the general public, Bautista knew it could be a career-making performance. While appearing at the Denver Pop Culture Convention, Bautista recounted that the audition for the role “terrified” him — surprising for the six-foot-six performer.
Bautista revealed that despite being a popular pro wrestler, he hadn’t yet found his footing as an actor at the time of the audition. He recalled, “I was really desperate at the time, I had hardly worked in three years, and I had gone broke, I had lost all my money from wrestling and I was desperate to get a job. I finally got an agent, like, two weeks before I got the audition for Guardians. My agent says ‘You know, I really had to fight to get you this audition. It was really hard to get, they didn’t really want to audition you. They didn’t want to see any pro wrestlers, so I don’t want to get your hopes up.'”
Of course, hindsight has proven that Bautista was the right man for the role, but he didn’t know that at the time. He remembers coming to the audition as a nervous wreck, but receiving strong support to do his best. He says, “[My agent] built my hopes really low, so I went in with low expectations. I didn’t understand Drax. I called my acting coach and said ‘I don’t get this’ […] and he flipped out because he’s like the biggest fanboy. Anyway, he made me do a little research and I found one picture of Drax, and I said ‘That looks like me!’ He babied me through this whole process, my first and second auditions, my acting coach came with me, he was holding my hand like a little baby. I read for [casting director] Sarah Finn; she’s amazing. I read with her and she said ‘Don’t be nervous. Take your time, we can stay here all day.’”
Bautista’s performance in the role was a game-changer for his career and has since led him to roles in Spectre, Blade Runner 2049, Stuber and Dune.
via The Wrap