Thank you to Disney and Marvel Studios for hosting me during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Event.
Wrestling and MMA is not my thing, so I had no more than a casual awareness of Dave Bautista until I saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. That’s all it took to turn me into a fan. After watching Vol. 2 I became an even bigger fan. And after getting the chance to interview him? Well, you’ll see…
What was his reaction when he first read the script for Vol. 2?
You’re not gonna like this answer. When I first read the script, I wasn’t crazy about it. 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 [full] 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. I just had a completely different outlook on it as a whole.
What did he think when he saw the finished film?
I think it’s beautiful. I like it’s better than the first film. It’s weird. It’s one of things I feel like the more and more we get into film, the more I am sucked into it and there’s certain beats I just…I just sniffle up and I just get so emotionally invested in this film… 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 [don’t like] watching myself on film. It’s just uncomfortable. And last night at the premiere, every time I was on the screen and I knew I was gonna say something, I just kinda put my head down and just try to get through it. I just don’t like it. I’m just uncomfortable with it.
Does it help when he sees the reaction from the audience to his performance?
Yeah, it does, but…I don’t like watching myself on screen. It’s just uncomfortable for me. That’s why I don’t watch. When we were filming and we watched playbacks, everybody knows that I don’t like them. They call Zoe, call Chris to watch the playbacks. They don’t call me to watch playbacks, because they know I won’t sit there and watch it.
Does he see Drax having a romantic partner in a future volume?
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. He’s just too heartbreaking. I don’t think he’ll ever have a romantic connection with anyone. Never.
Did his background in wrestling or MMA help him channel the character of Drax?
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 was making 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.” I never really thought about it, but it really is. So maybe subconsciously it does help a little bit, because Drax is definitely not who I am. He’s big and boisterous and a little bit egotistical and proud. I’m not that. I’m just much more just self-conscious and understated. But maybe. I just never really thought much about it and I never put it in that perspective. But maybe it does have something to do with it, especially when Drax starts laughing. It’s just so big and ridiculous.
What would he want for his character going forward?
If I had some input in it, 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. 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 really think it would be great if the audience could just have a visual of Drax’s family.
What was his makeup process like during filming?
It’s most my body, but actually it’s not bad. It takes about an hour and a half now and that’s kind of a bad day. On the first film it took four to six hours. 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 think regularly Zoe and Karen had like 2am, 3am pickups. And I didn’t have that experience at all. I had it really good on this one.
How was the chemistry on set?
Rooker’s a bit of a prankster but 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 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 Guardians 1 and 2 and gone to the Avengers. So we’ve spent a lot of time together… We had a great chemistry. It just kinda naturally happened. We don’t overthink it. That was a huge luxury coming into the second one. It felt comfortable with everybody. I didn’t have to feel self-conscious, because they knew I was a little awkward and they kinda accept that about me. They don’t judge me for it and I know they’re not going to. Sometimes I still get inside my head and self-conscious about it, but I know at the end of the day, they know-even Zoe knows-that I have ADD and I zone off quite a bit. Sometimes I’ll zone off and I can hear Zoe going, “David. David, where are you?” And she’s really sweet about it and she just kinda accepts it at the end.
Speaking of Avengers…anything he wants to share?
I would love to spill the beans. 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 [version] 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… James did a lot of the writing for us. And also when we showed up the, Russo brothers were just so encouraging of us being our characters. And a lot of times because of this-we have a certain way of doing things. I mean we’ve done two films. You have the two Guardians films. 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. Not only that, but they really liked it. They really appreciate it. 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.
What does he do in his downtime?
I go home to Tampa and I hide. I do. I live in a regular neighborhood, where 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, because all this attention and the spotlight are very uncomfortable for me… When we’re walking down the red carpet and they’re saying, “Oh, this is great,” and I’m like, “For me, it’s not.” I enjoy it. I don’t hate it, but 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 because I love it. I was passionate about it. That doesn’t mean I was always super comfortable. I did it because I wanted to step outside of my career zone and pursue my dreams, which is terrifying.
How does he fit in time for working out?
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. The only place I ever felt comfortable was working out. 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 of all my 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. It’s just something I do. It’s a life commitment for me. On days that I’m in makeup, I just can’t work out. But I watch what I eat and I 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 lot of pushups in my trailer or free squats on set when we’re standing there, just to keep my blood flowing. Just 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. It just makes me get through the day easier.
Make sure you follow along with all of my Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 event coverage right here!
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.