Just like when we met Dave Bautista on the set of the first Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2013, he came to sit down with us in full costume on the Atlanta set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last April. Bautista, along with the rest of the cast and crew even lined up and ate the from same fold-up tables in the abandoned conference center where Marvel Studios had crafted several sets for the production since Pinewood Studios was overflowing with sets for Avengers 3-4 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The family dynamic and themes on screen are palpable between everyone working on the project. Perhaps that’s why it’s easy for James Gunn and everyone involved to be excited to already know they’ll all be back together for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Three years had past in real-life when we visited the Vol. 2 set though and Bautista’s fame skyrocketed thanks in part to James Gunn casting him on the first movie. As a result, Bautista was noticeably different with that much experience. He’s much more confident, like a veteran professional of the industry, but still just as passionate and caring. Where the first time we met him as “Drax” in real-life, he teared up at James Gunn giving him a chance and the idea of having LEGO toys based off him, now he’s unafraid to share his passionate thoughts and speak his mind.
Have they made it any easier on you with the makeup for the sequel?
Dave Bautista: It’s so easy, you wouldn’t believe it. I’m not kidding. It takes like an hour and a half now. The last one, they got it down to four hours and everyone was celebrating. This, literally they attack me with paint rollers all over. And it looks better too. It looks way better.
Is it just more people?
Dave Bautista: They just have a completely different process. It took some testing. The problem was it goes on really great and it looks really great, but it’s really hard to get off. They came up with this idea: they stick me in a sauna at the end of the day. [laughs] They literally have to melt it off of me. That was the thing, because during the test we found out it’s so abrasive they literally have to scrub it off of me. So after two days, my skin was like hamburger. So they came up with the sauna thing, and I literally have a portable sauna that travels around with me and I get in at the end of the day, and I get three guys who come in and attack me – nothing weird there. Four guys in a sauna, just being men. [laughs] We talk about football and fighting a lot while we’re in there. [laughs]
How many people does it take to put everything on you?
Dave Bautista: I have a team of five guys.
After the original film, there was a thing that popped up on the Internet about Drax which is it turned out people with autism found Drax to be a character they could really deeply relate to? Is that impacting you moving forward with the character?
Dave Bautista: That would be a question more I think for James [Gunn]. He writes for Drax and he has a great time doing it. [laughs] I thought about it a lot. It’s really a cool thing. It’s really kind of hard to describe. But it kind of just feels good when you can influence anybody in a positive way, that you’re being a positive role model for somebody. It’s a good feeling, it’s a really good feeling, but I try not to read into it too much because I just don’t want to put that pressure on myself. But I do my thing and hopefully people are entertained by it and some positive things will spread from it. I try not to read into that stuff too much, because then I’d have to be really worried about any role that I ever played. I’d have to be worried about when I play a bad guy or I play a scumbag. I try to go from role to role and I want to do these different characters, so I just try not to read into it too much.
It seems like Drax finds a kindred spirit in Mantis. Can you talk about their relationship?
Dave Bautista: No. I don’t know how much has been disclosed. Obviously Mantis is in this film. For the sake of my job, we should kind of leave it at that right now.
Kevin told us that Drax and Mantis have a connection because they’re both awkward.
Dave Bautista: I think they’re both very awkward, but I think they’re both — I always said this: at the very core of Drax, he’s really just heartbroken. There’s a real innocence about Drax, and I think Mantis has that as well, and I think that’s probably where the connection would be the most. There’s just a very child-like innocence with both characters.