First of all, a thing you learn quickly when talking to Dave Bautista is that he’s a spoiler-phobe. So much so that in his upcoming (still very secretive) role in Blade Runner 2049, he didn’t want to read the script because he didn’t want to know what happened. Now, there are certainly instances when actors are only given a small portion of a script on a top secret movie, but I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever heard of it happening the other way around: where an actor just doesn’t want to know and wants to save the plot details for the theater.
The second thing is that Dave Bautista doesn’t think he’s funny. Even though he’s hilarious as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This is a slightly different Drax than we saw in the first movie: He’s not quite as angry and laughs hysterically any anyone else’s misfortune. Drax. Consequently, Bautista becomes the comic relief of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 even though he couldn’t understand why he, an unfunny person in his opinion, was being put in so many funny situations.
Regardless, Bautista does admit now that it works (he is correct, it does work), but ahead explains how he hopes Drax gets a little more serious in future adventures. (Just don’t show him the script quite yet.)
You were so surprised how funny Drax would be this time around. And he is very funny.
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting it. For one, I wasn’t expecting them to go this route with him in the film. And also, it’s really hard for me to find myself funny. I just don’t. And when I first read the script, I just didn’t come across funny to myself. So I didn’t realize how funny it was until I actually sat around and did the table read with the rest of the cast. It’s a lot different when something pops off paper and it becomes real and you hear somebody doing it in their character and their voice – and it just becomes more organic and natural and more emotional. So that’s when I realized actually how incredibly funny the script was.
Why were you under the impression Drax may not go in a funny direction this time?
I can’t remember what it initially was, but I want to say – and I’m not going to name anybody specifically, although I could; but just in case I’m wrong – it was mentioned to me by one of the producers that Drax was going to be much more badass and closer to the comic book version of the Destroyer in the next film. And I think I do remember hearing that and who I heard it from, but I just don’t want to get them in any trouble or put them in an awkward spot.
To be fair, in this movie Drax does jump into a monster’s mouth to kill it from the inside out. That classifies as badass, right?
Well, he’s jumping into a monster to try to kill him from the inside, so I guess on one note, if you look at it from one perspective, it would be pretty brave. [Laughs.] If you look at it from another perspective, it just seems idiotic.
I’ll go on record: It takes guts to do that.
For sure. Good intention. Drax always has good intentions.
You said you’re looking forward to interactions with Tony Stark in future movies. I’m looking forward to Steve Rogers, only because there are levels upon levels of earnestness with those two.
Right. Well, which makes me think that they might mesh well together. But Tony Stark, being so sarcastic, I think he would just want to have a laugh at Drax’s expense. So I think there would be a lot of jabs there, which I think would make for a more entertaining scene.
Steve Rogers is earnest, but he’s always nice about it. Drax is earnest but says mean things…
Right. So I think they might understand each other on a certain note. [Laughs.] They might come to an understanding, with both of them being very brutally honest.
Now playing Drax twice, do you feel like he’s become yours? Especially since before the first movie he wasn’t as well known? In the comics he was even green…
Oh definitely, now he’s mine. And I give credit to James Gunn, obviously, for the personality and the direction he chose for Drax. But I think if we had gone with more of the comic book, predictable version, I think that’s what it would have been. It would have been predictable; I think it would have been easy. I don’t think it would have been a stretch for me to play. And I think it just would have been super predictable. You know, it’s easy to be that big menacing-looking guy who growls at you. It’s just not interesting.
We’ve seen that before.
We’ve seen it a million times. Yeah.
There’s a scene in which Peter is humiliated and Drax finds that so entertaining and makes it clear how much he enjoys that…
And I really loved it. You know, he just has no filter. But also there’s just a joy about Drax in this film and I think the joy just stems from him just kind of finding somewhat of a new family, somewhat of an adopted family.
Were you a sci-fi fan at all? Because you’re in a lot of sci-fi stuff now.
Yeah. You know, I had this talk with Zoe [Saldana], because obviously she’s even in more sci-fi. And it was never an intentional thing to go into sci-fi – but yes, of course, always a fan. Always a fan. I just didn’t pursue to be in sci-fi.
You’re in James Bond and Guardians of the Galaxy and you have Blade Runner 2049 coming up. You’re checking off every box here.
Right! And I think that really comes from me just being a fan. I always say that I’m a fan first and a lot of times, even films that I’m in, good or bad, I will watch them as a fan. And that’s it, I’m just a fan first. This is what I grew up on, this is what I love, this is why I’m in entertainment. It was same with wrestling. I just was a fan. I was a fan first.
I feel Drax could beat Thanos pretty easily. This is my theory.
We’re 15 movies in, Thanos doesn’t even have one Infinity Stone yet. I think Drax has his shit together.
You know, I would hope so. But, oddly enough, it just seems like Drax has become that consummate underdog. He has good intentions and his heart is in the right place, but he just always seems to get his ass handed to him. But which makes it great, because when you’re the underdog and people just naturally want to root for you. You know, so it’s just another, kind of, going against the grain.
I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is the one who destroyed the monster at the beginning and not Gamora.
[Laughs.] I think you are the one person.
The effort was there.
Besides Drax, he actually believes that.
I know you can’t say much, but being on the set of a Blade Runner movie has to be crazy?
You know, it was a lot of different things going through my head through Blade Runner. For one, it was surreal. It was intimidating. It was a dream come true, just growing up a fan of Blade Runner. But also, again, I have to put myself into kind of that fan bracket and say I was just so excited about it. I didn’t want to read the script! I was asking the producers if I could just kind of read my parts and not read the whole script!
Wait, to not spoil it? Is that why?
Yeah, no spoilers! I wanted to go in and watch it as a fan. I’m anticipating it just like everyone else.
I have never heard that before: that you want to be in the movie but you don’t want it spoiled.
Hell yeah! No, I don’t. I don’t want to know!
What if you get to be in a Star Wars someday? It’s going to be all spoiled for you.
The same way. I mean, that would break my heart. I would prefer not to read the script. And again, that just goes back to me being a fan. I want to go and I want to enjoy it. I want to sit there with my bucket of popcorn. I like the movie experience. It’s something that’s special to me. You know, when I was a little kid, we couldn’t really afford to go to the movies, so I had to sneak into movies. And once I sneaked into one, I’d sneak into every theater. It’s a special thing for me. It’s a whole experience.
There are maybe three people who have successfully pulled of being a successful wrestler and actor. Do you think about that?
Right. No, to be honest with you – I don’t think about it, not for one day. I just pursue acting. I want to be a better actor, a better performer. And that’s the way I look at it, man. I take each role as they come and I just want better and more interesting roles and more diverse characters – and I don’t think about the fame or the money or the stardom or any of that. It’s always an afterthought. I just love doing these different type of characters that are interesting.
So for the next Guardians, it sounds like you want Drax to go to a darker place and not be as funny?
Not necessarily that. But what I would like to do, selfishly, is I would like to explore more of his family. You know, the loss of his family. I would like there to be some type of visual reference for fans of Drax’s family – and that may unintentionally take him to a darker place – but I just think it’s an interesting story that still needs to be told. I think people are curious about it and I think Drax still lives with that rage and that sense of necessity for revenge – and I think I would like it to be explored a little more.
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.