Hollywood loves to shove people into boxes. Not literally. That would be against the law. Probably. Unless they do it in a movie. Like, maybe there’s a movie called Box Guys someday about a bunch of people getting packaged-up and mailing themselves places instead of buying a plane ticket. Maybe they do it to sneak into the Super Bowl, like a Trojan Horse thing. That would be okay. I feel like Kevin James would be involved somehow.
In any event, it’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the figurative sense of it all, how actors can get pigeonholed into one kind of role and rarely get a chance to branch out, especially when they’ve had some success in that narrow little field. Specifically, we’re talking about this thing Dave Bautista said in a recent interview, which started with him saying “I know I’m not your typical rom-com lead” and then proceeded to make me very sad. Here, look.
“I’m a little rough around the edges. But I always, you know, I look in the mirror and I say, I ask myself, ‘Am I that unattractive? Is there something that unappealing about me that excludes me from these parts?’” he continued.
“I don’t know. It’s just never come my way. I’ve never had an offer to do a rom-com. I still have high hopes. I’ll just keep searching.”
A couple things are going on here, both of them important. The first is, like… Jesus Christ, somebody cast Dave Bautista in a rom-com already. For the world, yes, but also for Dave Bautista, personally. Read that quote a few times through. Picture Dave Bautista saying it, sitting in a comfy chair, just kind of sighing a little, with a dress shirt unbuttoned to his sternum and the first buttoned-button straining to contain his bulging torso. It’s heartbreaking. Something about a big strapping dude being sad is even more devastating to me than a scrawny guy whimpering. It’s heavy stuff.
The other thing is that Dave Bautista would kill it in a romantic comedy. He really would. Even when he plays beefed-up aliens like Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, there’s a sweetness there behind the eyes. Something tender. Something that could certainly carry over to a lighter story that doesn’t have laser fights in outer space. Or one that does. Dave Bautista would also kill it in a space-based rom-com, if that’s what we want from him. Eating little cupcakes with a recently widowed alien who never thought she would find love again after her last lover was heaved into a black hole by a godless space dragon. That could work. We have options.
It’s not just Dave Bautista, either. Let’s get all of Hollywood’s charismatic beefy boys into some sweet little movies. Jason Momoa would crush in a rom-com. Close your eyes for a second — not now, after this paragraph — and picture him in a movie as a single dad who hits it off with a single mom who runs a little coffee shop in town. Picture him with two adorable squirts hanging off of his massive shoulders as she looks at him with hearts in her eyes. Picture him squeezing into her little Prius — “no, no, I’m fine” he says as he crunches his knees up into his abdomen — to go to the museum with the kids on a Saturday. This is where you close your eyes and try to tell me I’m wrong.
Do you see? Do you see what I’m getting at? Their size can be used to tell the story. We can have fun here. Get Tom Hardy in there, too. He would be great in a sweet little movie. It goes back to the thing I said at the beginning, about how seeing a big dude deal with emotions is somehow more emotionally taxing for a viewer. The stakes feel higher. Strong men also cry, etc. etc. etc.
It would even things out a little bit, too. Pretty boys get to be action stars all the time. Ryan Gosling is a dude who was pretty much created in a lab to star in romantic comedies (boyish face, perfect hair, little rascal twinkle in his eye) and he’s running around with automatic weapons in movies like The Gray Man. Paul Rudd got his start in freaking Clueless 100 years ago and he’s about to star in his third Ant-Man movie, which doesn’t even count all the Avengers stuff he’s done. Which is fine! I love those guys! I would race to the theater opening weekend and park my car right on the sidewalk in front of the entrance if they ever made some sort of goofy action-comedy movie about two thieves trying to steal… oh, let’s say “a horse that won the Kentucky Derby.” That would be great. Those guys have range. And we let them have range. We need to extend this courtesy to the swole guys, too. It’s only fair.
Think about it for a little bit. Or a lot. I’ve been thinking about it since I read that quote a few days ago. I suspect I’ll keep thinking about it straight through this weekend, too, unless I get distracted by the mental image of Ryan Gosling and Paul Rudd trying to steal a racehorse. Which could happen. I guess I have two points here: One, I am sad that Dave Bautista is sad and I think it would help both him and me if we started putting big jacked dudes in sweet little comedies; two, now that I think about it, I would also watch a movie about Dave Bautista and Jason Momoa stealing a racehorse, too.
Let’s get working on all of that.