Interview: Dave Bautista on Guardians of the Galaxy

Diggedy Dave got a chance to participate in the round table interview of Dave Bautista who plays Drax in the upcoming and highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy, releasing nation wide in theaters on August 1, 2014.   We were allowed 1 question each, but I guess my group was shy, so I got in a whopping 3 :-).  I’ll label my questions below.

I was quick to the punch and threw out the first question
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Diggedy Dave:  Were there any scenes you filmed that you really liked that didn’t make it into the final cut?

Bautista: Uhh, We aren’t allowed to talk about scenes that didn’t make it? 

Agent Lady: No

Bautista:  Naaahhh..

I guess wait for the Bluray then,   And no that did not count as my question, it was nullified!


Would the grueling makeup process dissuade you from doing other movies like this?  Did you enjoy the process of getting into character for this film?  

Yea I really did.  I enjoyed it.  It sounds like when I say 5 hours of make up to put it on and 2 hours to take it off, it sounds like a lot but it just didn’t seem like that long.   Its just one of those things where I zoned out and I meditated, as you know I’m a pretty zen person.  My makeup team was just so much fun.  The hours just flew by.  They always had music going on, good jokes, and I don’t know.. it was just fun.  But it wasn’t just the time each day.. It was more of when it would get into consecutive days where you were going 4 days, 5 days, 6 days, and things would start to get scratchy and irritated.  But they were always aware of that.  They knew what I was going through and sensitive to it.  So it wasn’t that bad.  


Was it easy to move around in the make-up?

Yea it was easy to move around and what the cool thing was and why it was such a lengthy process.  they just molded it to me.  And they didn’t just want it to look good, they wanted it to be functional.  It wasn’t bad at all.  It felt like I had a shirt one.  Like those armor all type  spandex shirts.  Especially on hot days too, the latex of the prosthetics, you know, I’d sweat in there and it doesn’t breathe.  So they’d have to come out and drain it.. which sounds pretty gross.


How did it finally feel to play the good guy after being a heel for so long?

 I never thought of it like that. Even in wrestling I never think you know.. I like being a heel for one, I think I’m better at it.  I’m more comfortable at it.  I don’t really care whether people like me, or if I get cheered.  What I do care about is if they are into our match or into our story line, you know.. sucking them in.  Then sometimes I like being in the bad guy role because it allows me to have more control over that.  Its the big picture that I care about.  So no I never thought about that, I just want to be part of a really interesting story that people can get emotionally invested in.  And not so much on the lines of good guy bad guy.  I don’t feel I need to be cheered just as long as people are getting their moneys worth.


Diggedy Dave: What was your biggest challenge in the role?

Bautista: One of the challenges was the dialogue.. It was just alien to me, it was weird and just strange and sometimes so formal and so stiff.  And me I’m young and I use a lot of slang and nothing I say makes much sense you have to kind of puzzle it together ya know.  I think the big stress was the emotional stuff.  Because its weird, its a weird thing man.. putting your emotions out there for everyone to see and meanwhile they’re filming it.  And just kind of puts you in a vulnerable state which I’m not used to.. I internalize everything and keep everything inside and I’m not used to spilling my guts and  putting it all out there, and when you have to do that on film to make a point to make something translate, you know.. it’s hard man.. its rough.  I don’t think its as easy as people think.  I’m a huge film buff you know I love film.. when I see people just for instance Anne Hathaway in Les Mis, and you see her just pouring her guts out and you just get sucked in, and.. God thats just hard man, its mostly just draining, and challenging and you really appreciate it if you look at it that way.. but yeah it was rough.

Were you more familiar with Drax before you auditioned for the role or after the role?

I had no idea who Drax was.  It was all because of my agent, who turned me down like 30 times in the past, finally agreed to take me on and told me he was setting me up for the role.  It was a big role, oh its great, this is gonna be my big break.  And then I got the audition, and I was like what the hell?!   I just didn’t get him at all man.  So I called my acting coach and said I can’t do this.  I just don’t get it.  And he was a huge comic nerd. You don’t understand,  he was so excited about it and told me.. just do some research on him and call me back!  I’m looking and looking I can’t find anything, and found this one video reference, and Drax was half an android, and it was just terrible. 

I saw one picture and it was one of their art concepts of Drax and he looked big and menacing and I was like, I get that, that looks familiar, that looks like me.  So I called him back and he started explaining Drax to me.  I had certain sides that I had to read for audition,  and he started putting them into context and why they made sense.  Just reading them made no sense to me because I didn’t know the back story.  So he started explaining the back story to me and explaining why these scenes were so great because I’d get to show some emotional range as an actor.  He was so excited.  He said this is a dream role for you.  I mean if you land this role it’s going to change your life.  Sure enough.  As soon as he explained it to me, I I got it, then I went to work, and I went out for the audition and started working with my coach and went over these scenes over and over and over.  He came to both of my auditions and really helped me get through this. 

Are there any scenes in terms of the physical aspect of the role that were more difficult to take on?

There was one scene in particular that we shot that was pretty brutal.  We shot one fight scene and they wanted to shoot it all in one sequence.  This big elaborate fight scene, and it had so many extras and stuntmen cast members in the fight scene, it was a just very intricate thing to do.  It took us take after take after take after take.  We were literally there all day I think it took us around 22 takes.  It was just absolutely physically exhausting, I was exhausted. Its fought too with scenes like that cause I have these big clunky heavy boots and this makeup that doesn’t breathe and I can’t move that great in.  It made for a long day.  That was the hardest day physically.  I mean physically it wasn’t that tough of a role.  It was more of a challenge in terms of acting.


In terms of dialogue this movie is a lot more steeped in comedy and you have some of the best one liners in the film.  How is it working with comedy instead of just straight action?

It’s great, because Drax never intends for anything to be funny, which makes it even more funny,   but it was cool because it gave me the opportunity to show different sides of me because I’m not.  And it was hard for me to break that perception people had of me from WWE.  It gave me the opportunity to just not see me as that guy that was beating people up in the ring or hitting people with chairs.  Or yelling and screaming and for me to be all RARR RARR.. Thats not me at all man not at all, I’m usually very soft spoken or usually the quietest guy in the room.   So it really kind of gave me the opportunity to really show it off and let people break out of the perception of just a WWE wrestler which I’ve been looking for for a long freakin time.

Do you want to keep taking on roles like this?

You know.. not like this.  Drax as far as action goes, superhero in that genre of film.. Thats as big as it’s going to get, it’s not going to get any bigger or better.  I never set out to be an action star.  I really just want to be an actor.  And I really would still like the opportunity to do stuff that is more dialogue driven or character driven story line.  Big fan of Tarentino, Guy Richie.. Love him.. Scorcese stuff.. Love it.  So I’d like to step into some roles like that.. character driven.  Dialogue, good dialogue ya know?  

What was a little more difficult acting with the CGI actors or the actual actors?

 You know honestly we were really fortunate because a lot of the stuff with the CGI we had very talented actors.  So we had stand ins and wasn’t always looking at empty spaces, so we got to work with actors who were really talented and totally sucked into the characters.  I think just over all it was challenging because me being kinda new to it, and all of a sudden I’m stepping on set with Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt, I’m totally the rookie.  It was cool because they never made me feel like that.  They knew and they were aware and James was real good about making sure people knew I was new and didn’t have much experience.  They could not have been any more gracious.  They were really cool about it.  They treated me more like one of their peers instead of the weak link ya know?  


What was your most memorable memory from set?

I actually have a bunch but there was one day in particular.. But I’m praying that it will show up on a DVD extra.  James had the whole cast, and I mean like 200 extras for this huge scene.  He had everyone on set dance.. He was just playing music and this person danced and that one danced.. All the crew members, so eventually it just turned into this huge rave.  And I can hear James over there laughing.  He was just enjoying himself.  James was having so much fun.. he wasn’t just a director, he was just a little kid having so much fun doing what he loves, making his dream come true.  


Diggedy Dave:  How do you see yourself improving what you did here, making it even better?

Bautista:  First I love that you assume there will be a sequel, I hope if they do a sequel that they would tell more of the background story of Drax.  I havent seen the whole movie yet, only snippets.  I’ll watch it in it’s entirety at the premier.  But I guarantee you that I’ll beat myself up.  I don’t watch playbacks of myself because I just cringe, and once I see it and cringe and get so self conscious  about it.. it will be stuck in my head and that’s all I’ll think about for the rest of the day.  So I don’t watch playbacks while we are filming.  And when I see this I will walk away feeling ashamed of myself and embarrassed.  I know myself and everyone who is close to me knows I will do this as well.  It’s because I love acting and I want to be taken seriously as an actor which means I just want to be better as an actor.  It’s just the story of my life, I always beat myself up and want to be better.


You can see Dave Bautista along with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, and many more in Marvels highly anticipated space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters nation wide August 1, 2014.  The film runs 122 minutes.

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