Dave Bautista Shares his Hopes for Drax and Why He Doesn’t See Himself as Funny
When we spoke with Dave Bautista during the secret set visit, he talked about how James Gunn had expanded on Drax’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I was looking forward to seeing the final film since that visit. When I was sharing my posts from that trip I immediately became excited to see it. When I sat down at the Dolby Theater on the night of the premiere I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I left as Drax as my favorite character. Dave Bautista did an amazing job with the character and I was excited to sit down with him again to talk about his character.
We jumped right in with the questions, asking him how he felt about his role being expanded in the film and his relationship with newcomer Mantis
You’re not gonna like this answer. When I first read the script, I wasn’t crazy about it. And this is my initial reaction, when I usually get a script I go over my dialogue first. So, I read over my dialogue and for one I was expecting them to go a different direction with Drax. I thought he was gonna be more of the Destroyer. I thought he was gonna be a more comic book Drax and then I realized they were digging more into the funny bits. And I don’t find myself funny at all, so when I was reading these lines I was like they’re not funny.
And I just didn’t really get ‘em and I read the script, and I thought, wow, this is really a great script. It’s deep. It’s emotional, but I still was a little bit disappointed about my part. And then the first day we did our table read, I realized it was hysterical. [LAUGHS] And then I just had a completely different outlook on it as a whole.
We wanted to know how Bautista felt about seeing the completed film. Personally, I loved his character Drax. He was hilarious and his relationship with Mantis left me wanting to see more of the pair on screen.
I think it’s beautiful. I like it’s better than the first film. It’s weird. It’s one of those things I feel like the more and more we get into film, the more I am sucked into it and there’s certain parts I just sniffle up and I just get so emotionally invested in this film. I felt that the first one I thought was fun and exciting and some parts were very emotional, but not like this one. I felt like I was just totally absorbed in this film. As far as watching me on film, I just cringe. I just like don’t watching myself on film. It’s just uncomfortable. And last night at the premiere every time I was on the screen like and I knew I was gonna say something I just kinda put my head down and just try to get through it.
We asked when looking at films if he sees himself or the character, he responded saying he hasn’t gotten to the point of seeing the character yet, he still sees himself and he judges himself constantly. He’s also said he knows he will get there one day but he’s just not there yet.
Drax has talked about his one great love many times, we wanted to know if Bautista thought the character would find love again or if it was something that wasn’t going to happen.
No, and if I can have input on it, I would say no, because it’s the root of who Drax is. Drax lives for his heartbreak. You know, he’s just too heartbreaking. I don’t think he’ll ever have a romantic connection with anyone.
One of the bloggers asked a question from her brother who’s a huge Bautista fan. He wanted to know if the wrestling helped Dave with his role as Drax.
Um not really, but someone said something to me the other day that kinda resonated a little bit, and I never really put any thought into it. He said — he was trying to make the comparison, and I said there’s no comparison. I said wrestling is so big and so broad and such a big improvisational physical performance, and acting is so intimate. He goes, yeah, but Drax is so big. He’s so larger than life. And I never really thought about it, but it really is. So, maybe subconsciously it does help a little bit, ’cause Drax is definitely not who I am.
He’s big and boisterous and a little bit egotistical and proud. And I’m not that. I’m just much more self-conscious and understated. I just never really thought much about it and I never put it in that perspective. But, yeah, maybe it does have something to do with it, especially when, you know, Drax starts laughing. It’s just so big and ridiculous.
Next, we talked about Bautista’s hope for his character moving forward in future films. We already know that Volume 3 is coming since the director announced it shortly before the premiere.
Yeah, good question. If I had some input in it, I would say I’d like to see – what I’d really love is for people to have a visual, a face, a name to put with a face. And I’d love if they would actually show Drax’s family. You know, some of the race of beings that he comes from. I’d like to see more Drax, more people with different tattoos and just that race of people. But I’d really think it would be great if the audience could just have a visual of Drax’s family.
The process of transforming into Drax is not an easy feat, I shared about it in my first interview post with Bautista, but we talked about that process again.
It’s most my body [LAUGHS], but actually it’s not bad. It takes about an hour and a half now. On the first film it took like four to six hours. You know, it was just like these bit sheets of silicone, but it’s like these glue transfers that they have. And it takes about an hour a half. It’s really hard to get off, but otherwise it goes on really fast and I can’t complain. I didn’t have any — I think regularly Zoë and Karen had like two, three pickups.
We got into the chemistry on set. This cast seems like they were having lots of fun when we were on the set visit, so we wanted to know who played the most pranks or had people laughing the most.
Not really pranks, there’s no really prankster. Roker’s a bit of a prankster but, you know, not so much where he would do something to just irritate somebody or have a laugh at somebody’s expense. But a lot of laughs. I think you guys have all interviewed Chris, and he just loves making people laugh. I think sometimes he’s just hysterical not even trying. But just I mean a lot of great chemistry. And we also got really close in the first film. We’ve spent so much time together on press tours and whatnot. And now we’ve actually done like three films together as the Guardians. We’ve done, you know, Guardians 1 and 2 and gone to the Avengers. So, we’ve spent a lot of time together.
The cool thing about that I think had a lot to do with Sara Finn casting and James as we were all cast, because we had a great chemistry. And I think that it just kinda naturally happened. We don’t just overthink it. And it’s really — you know, that was a huge luxury coming into the second one. It’s like felt comfortable with everybody. It didn’t have to feel self-conscious, ’cause they knew I was a little awkward and they kinda accept that about me.
I would love the spill the beans and — no, I can tell you that we’re in the Avengers. I can tell you this. We’re in the Avengers. But here was my fear going into the Avengers was that they were gonna try to make us into characters that we weren’t, they were gonna take their of the Guardians and try to go with that and not let us be James Gunn’s Guardians. And it was completely opposite.
For one, we had the luxury of James doing a lot of the writing for us. And also when we showed up the, Russo brothers was just so encouraging of us being our characters. And a lot of times ’cause this — we have a certain way of doing things. I mean we’ve done two films. You have the two Guardians films. You got — then we just bounce off each other. Chris hardly ever says anything that’s actually on page. He says it a bunch of different times and a bunch of different ways. So, that’s just the way we do things. We bounce and we’re very flexible. And they were just very encouraging of just letting us do things our way.
And they — not only that but they really liked it. Like they really appreciate it. They — a lot of times we would say something that wasn’t even on page, wasn’t even close to what was on page and they’d come running on, what was that you said on the last take? And we’d say it again. They’d say, yeah, do that again. They just kinda let us be ourselves, man. It was great.
We asked Bautista about how he centers himself and wind down when he’s finished filming a movie and between projects.
I go home to Tampa and I hide. I do. I live in a regular neighborhood. I’m very close to MacDill Air Force Base, and I’m surrounded by all military families. It’s just kind of a normal neighborhood. And my wife she shies away from the spotlight. She doesn’t like it. So, it’s just like real life and I like being there. I’m very content there, ’cause like all this attention and the spotlight is very uncomfortable for me.
And I tell people like that — ’cause nobody really gets it, man, when we’re walking like down the red carpet and they’re saying, oh, this is great. And I’m like for me it’s not. It’s like, you know, I enjoy it. I don’t hate it, but at the same time it’s just overwhelming for me. And I think a lotta people have a hard time relating why that would be overwhelming, especially when they look at what I’ve done for a living with wrestling and everything being out there in the spotlight. I did it, ’cause I love it. I was passionate about it. That doesn’t mean I was always like super comfortable. I did it because I wanted to step outside of my career zone and pursue my dreams, which is terrifying.
Our final question was about the actor’s work our routine to keep his body in shape for the character Drax, and how he finds time to work out when he has a busy schedule.
Well, for one, it’s like it’s a lifetime thing for me. It’s a commit thing. You know, it’s so weird, man. I think people expect me to have a certain personality because of the way I look, and I always tell people I look the way I do because of the personality that I have. Because the only place I ever felt comfortable was working out. Like I just felt like I was a fish put back in water. I felt like I could just do this on my own. It just made me feel good. It made me feel more confident, and that’s why I look the way I do.
It’s just because all my, you know, self-consciousness on the inside, not because I had this personality where I feel like I have to be the biggest guy in the room. So, it’s just somethin’ I do. It’s a life commitment for me. You know, so, on days that I’m in makeup, I usually can’t work out. I watch what I eat and instead of being driven from here to there, which is sometimes ridiculous — sometimes you’re being driven across the street. I’ll just walk off the set and I’ll just run from here to there or jog or whatever, a lotta pushups in my trailer or free squats on set when we’re standing there nothin’ just to keep my blood flowin’.
So, just like little things like that. Just being conscious and aware of it but also having that thing that internally which says that working out just makes me feel better. You know, it just makes me get through the day easier, yeah.
About Guardians of the Galaxy:
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is now playing in theaters everywhere.