Of the many WWE wrestlers who have turned to moviemaking in later years, none have had as unexpected a rise as Dave Bautista. After quitting WWE, the former wrestler put in the time playing generic overly-muscled and monosyllabic villains before his breakout role as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Since then, Dave Bautista has worked with a string of notable directors and showcased an impressive range as a serious dramatic actor. In an interview with Screen Rant, the actor revealed that his experiences have made him confident of a possible foray into directing at some future date.
“Yeah, absolutely. I feel that. Right now in my career, I feel confident that I could direct a film. I have goals, and I don’t want to do big epic films. I want to do very contained, dramatic, and inspiring films. That’s always what I’ve wanted to do. But now I feel confident that I’ve learned enough, and that I know enough about the process. Obviously, I don’t know every technical aspect. But I feel confident that I could sit in a director’s chair right now, and if I had a solid script and a solid cast, I could make one hell of a movie. I just think I’m at that point where I’ve just learned from the best; I’ve absorbed it. I’ve been a student.”
Whereas other former wrestler like Dwayne Johnson and John Cena have been content to stick to action-comedy movies that basically require them to play a variation of their wrestling personas, Bautista has consistently chosen to go against the grain, choosing to work with auteur directors like Denis Villeneuve and Zack Snyder in roles that require serious dramatic heft. According to Bautista, his approach to acting and filmmaking is the same as his approach to wrestling; learning from the best to become the best.
“It was the same in wrestling. I learned from the best, and I picked their brain, and I took advantage of those guys in a way that a lot of people are missing out on. I wanted to learn things; I wanted to learn the process of professional wrestling and why it was an art. It’s the same thing with films, and I’ve done the same thing. And I feel like, right now if given the opportunity, I could be world champion.”
Aside from earning his cred as a serious actor, Bautista is also finally stepping into central roles. He can currently be seen as the lead in Army of the Dead, where Bautista plays the role of a mercenary leading a group of desperadoes on a suicidal mission to retrieve a huge amount of cash from the center of Las Vegas, which has become overrun with a new strain of a zombie virus.
Directed and co-written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Raul Castillo, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi and Ana de la Reguera. The film arrives on Netflix on May 21. This news arrives from Screen Rant