6’5, 270 pound ex WWE wrestler and MMA fighter, Dave Bautista, came walking into the room. He was a sweetheart of a gentle giant!
My first question was about his physique. I asked how long he spent in the gym! I was surprised by his answer, he said he workouts all the time, but not necessarily in the gym. He does a lot of martial arts and cycling. But on the way into the Disney lot he said he did see a gym and ask if he could get a chance to workout!
We also asked if his WWE training helped him in this role:
“No, it’s weird because it’s so different. I guess, being athletic helped me a little bit. I picked up on stuff kinda easy. But still, it’s just so different from anything that I’d ever done. We had really good stunt guys and relied on them for their advice, and they showed me how to do stuff, and I would do it, I’d mess it up and they’d say, well, try it this way if it’s easier. And I’d say no, I like the way you did it because it looks cool that way. So just show me how to do it that way, and I’d just do it and do it until I picked up on it.” Fighting in the movies is a whole different skill set than the WWE wrestling we see on TV!
And as with Zoe Saldana, we had to ask about the make-up. 4 hours to put on and 1 1/2 to take off. That in itself is exhausting!
We all wanted to know what had attracted Dave to the role of Drax:
“I’ve been wanting to do a role that wasn’t one noted. You know, it’s multi-layered, so a character with a little bit of an emotional range, you know, which is something that I needed for my career, like, really bad because I think people have a certain perception of me leaving wrestling that they just saw me as that guy, and I’m really not that guy at all.” Drax is a warrior and a fighter. But more than that, Drax was a husband and a dad, he wanted revenge for the sake of the family he lost. This was the emotional side of the character that Dave wanted to work on, and he did an excellent job!
Dave’s audition process lasted over 3 months. Clearly the chemistry he has with Chris shows that he was the perfect choice!
And my favorite part of the interview was when Dave shared how he got tricked into dancing! This part is not in the film, but we did tell the Director later that it must be a DVD extra when released! Basically there was supposed to be a dance off between Star-Lord and Ronin, and then the finger got pointed at Dave who was not scripted to dance! “I could hear James laughing, and he starts saying, okay background- extras, start dancing, and literally, it turned into, like, three hundred people. And it was like, okay, crew, dance, and then get everybody just dancing, so it literally turned into this big rave. It was hysterical.” We have to see that!
To sum it up, you might expect a brute when you go to the movie, but that is not what you will get with Drax: “I think when people see Drax, they automatically think that he’s gonna be a kind of one-noted character who is the type of character, that all he’s good for is fighting and chopping people’s heads off, and the way I approached the character was never really looking at Drax as a warrior, but more as a father and a husband. And I think that, I hope that people will see that that’s basically who he is and all his rage just comes from heartbreak, and not so much because he’s just hell bent on cutting people’s heads off, you know? He’s really just heartbroken over the loss of his family.” And that’s how Dave Bautista made this a terrific multi dimensional role.
Lastly, we were all taken by surprise by Mr. Bautista. At the end of the interview his Facebook page was checked, and it turned out he had been having is PR people take pictures of our interview and posted them immediately to his wall for his over 5 1/2 Million followers. That was a first. I will never forget his generosity:
Disclosure: Disney invited me on this press trip and paid all of my expenses. No other compensation was received. All opinions are always 100% my own and honest.
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