Dave Bautista went from pro wrestling champion to a co-star in two of the highest-grossing films of all time: Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre. That’s in addition to the number of acting credits he has accumulated in independent films that have had more opportunities to demonstrate Bautista’s acting abilities. In an interview with Iris, Bautista talks about that transition and how the exposure of his fan-favorite role in Guardians of the Galaxy helped make his career a little less challenging.
Bautista credits Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn for giving him the chance to show off more of his range with Drax in the sequel. He says, “There’s nothing that I wanted to do that I wasn’t given the opportunity to do. It’s always been a goal of mine to show a full range of emotions for a character, and that’s what I wanted to do because that’s kind of my challenge as an actor. With Drax I just took it across the board, got to show off everything, my comedic side, my dramatic side, my very emotional side and the action part of the character. For me it’s more challenging, it’s more interesting because I think if you go the other way and you do the action character, it’s kind of a no-brainer. It’s kind of easy, it’s predictable, but I don’t want to be predictable. I want to be entertaining.”
Yet by saying that Bautista doesn’t mean to take anything away from his performance in the first Guardians movie — a performance that turned him from “ex-wrestler” to “in-demand actor.” He reveals, “I couldn’t even explain how much it’s not only helped me, but also opened doors for me, because after the first Guardians came out is when doors opened. It’s when I started getting phone calls, when I started getting offers. I got the opportunity to play really great characters and great roles. Even in the future and this coming year I have great opportunities to perform and real acting roles. That’s what I was after, that’s what I left wrestling to do, was act.”
As someone who wasn’t trained as an actor in a traditional way, Bautista admits he sizes his abilities against his peers — but he feels passionate about the competition. He explains, “It’s still a challenge for me and it’s something I struggle with and I’m still self-conscious about, but that’s why I kind of fell in love with it. That’s why it became a new passion in my life, is because it was so challenging. I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s become a second skin, but I am becoming a stronger performer.”