One of the many pleasant surprises in Guardians of the Galaxy is Dave Bautista's nuanced portrayal of Drax the Destroyer. Although the relative newcomer to film is well-known in the world of professional wrestling and for smaller roles in Riddick, Chuck, etc., his turn in Guardians is a stand-out and will hopefully lead to great things for the character in the Marvel movie universe.
Screen Rant recently sat down with Bautista to talk about his journey with Guardians, which includes revealing his discomfort with watching himself onscreen and an unexpected instant rapport with co-star Chris Pratt - based on the fact that Pratt was once an amateur wrestler. This is something we didn't pay enough attention to at the time and must be investigated further. Surely there is a video somewhere of Pratt's wrestling days? Anyway, read on for more humble commentary from the rising star.
What was the experience of watching the finished film like for you?
The experience was like this, when I first started watching myself I hunched down in my seat. That's what I do, that's why I don't watch my playbacks when we're filming, I'm my own biggest critic and I don't like to watch myself while filming. But 20 minutes into it I got sucked in as a fanboy and that way completely forgot that I was in it, just got sucked into it. It's really easy to do, I had a great time and was laughing out loud.
This is the first Marvel movie I'm recommending everyone see, including my parents who don't usually see the superhero or blockbuster movies.
It's weird, you don't even have to be a Marvel or superhero buff to enjoy this film because it's so much fun.
I hear you and Mr. Pratt had instant chemistry, can you talk about that first meeting or how you knew it was going to work?
It was at our initial screen test and it wasn't a planned screen test. I had gone in to test and he was there, I believe he'd already gotten the part and they asked if I would mind hanging around and do a screen test with him. My initial reaction was, because I had only seen him in films and had never met him but I was like "Man, you're a big dude" [Laughs] and so we just started talking and he was an amateur wrestler and so was I, so we started talking about that and just sort of clicked right off the bat. It was one of those things where it wasn't uncomfortable at all and so they put us on film together and we didn't have any dialogue or anything, we just started talking and I just played off of him because he's very witty and improvisational and I could just stand there and react with my eyes, I'm good at expressions, so we just did that, we just clicked.
How many more metaphors going over Drax's head are there going to be on the DVD?
[Laughs] You know if they do, I'm hoping that they put together a gag reel as a DVD extra because it will be longer than the film. There's a lot of stuff, a lot of the stuff that made it to the final edit was all improv stuff, so there are a lot of good laughs, a lot of stuff I wish had made it but didn't so I'm praying they have a nice long gag reel.
What is one thing you hope gets added?
A couple things right off the top of my head, there was one day when I think we had like 200 extras on this big huge set and James just decided he was going to turn it into a party and wanted to have everybody dancing. So there's that, but there's also a prisoner character called Scarface who was played by an actor named Alexis, I can't think of his last name, but we did a bunch of different takes with him and he had everybody dying laughing he was so funny, so I hope he makes it on the gag reel.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014.