Batista cried upon landing Guardians of the Galaxy role
STEVE TILLEY - Toronto Sun
|Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
It takes a big man to admit that it’s OK to cry. Fortunately, Dave Bautista is a very, very big man.
The hulking WWE superstar and mixed martial artist has wanted few things in his career as badly as he yearned for the role of Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel space opera Guardians of the Galaxy, opening in theatres Aug. 1.
Though he’s had smaller parts in films like Riddick and The Man with the Iron Fists, Bautista was keenly aware that Guardians of the Galaxy would decisively launch his acting career. And when his manager called Bautista to tell him that director James Gunn had chosen him for the part, Bautista pulled his car over to the side of the road and wept. As did his manager.
“He said, ‘Congratulations, you’re Drax.’ And I said, ‘No f---ing way,’ ” recalled Bautista in an interview on the film’s set. “I could hear him crying. I pulled over and just started screaming.”
Despite being a big name in the world of WWE, where he performs as Dave Batista or simply Batista, Bautista knew the transition to Hollywood wouldn’t be easy. His agent had to fight to get Bautista an audition for Guardians of the Galaxy, and through multiple callbacks and meetings, he was never sure where he stood.
“This went on for weeks and weeks, and I’d hear rumours that this guy’s got the part, that guy’s got the part,” said Bautista, who was well aware that Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa was the frontrunner for Drax.
“I was really heartbroken, but they wouldn’t release me.”
Momoa ultimately turned down the role, and Bautista’s big break was born. It’s interesting to watch Bautista at work, too: where Pratt and Saldana are constantly joking and messing around, Bautista – at least on the day we visited the film’s sets at Shepperton Studios near London – was quieter and more businesslike, fully focused on the task of bringing Drax to life.
It’s a process that begins with 18 silicone prosthetics glued to Bautista’s body, and ends when he pops in the revenge-seeking warrior’s ice-blue contact lenses.
“You feel like a different person,” Bautista said of the physical transformation into his character.
“I feel like Drax. I feel like a superhero.”
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