Left wrestling to be an actor, not a movie star: Dave Bautista

PTI, Aug 13, 2020, 10:25 AM IST

Los Angeles: Dave Bautista says he had to work “really hard” to earn respect as an actor, which includes turning down action roles, something that is expected of him as a former professional wrestler.

The ex-WWE wrestler began acting in 2006 and has starred in films like “The Man with the Iron Fists”, “Riddick”, the James Bond film “Spectre” and “Blade Runner 2049”.

But he is most popular for playing the role of Drax the Destroyer in Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Bautista opened up about leaving the wrestling ring for Hollywood and said he decided to take the road not taken as a former wrestler to prove his acting chops. He officially retired in 2019.

“I didn’t leave wrestling to become a movie star, I left to be an actor. I’ve worked really hard to prove myself and earn the respect of my peers and audiences. It”s been a tough route. I’ve really pursued roles that are the actor’s pieces, and I’ve turned down a lot of roles that would have been better suited for me as an ex-wrestler.

“Those are the roles most people expected me to take, but I’ve chosen to go the unexpected route to prove myself as an actor. I feel like people expect less from a wrestler-turned-actor, but I’ve always wanted to be a serious actor,” the 51-year-old told Sports Illustrated magazine.

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” star credited his role as Sapper Morton in 2017”s “Blade Runner 2049” for changing people’s perception of him.

“The small role I had in ”Blade Runner 2049”, that”s the role that opened up so many doors for me as a performer. It helped strip away my physical appearance and offered me opportunities that relied on my acting,” he said.

Bautista said he wants to play “unpredictable” characters in his career.

“I don’t want to be labeled, I don’t want to be predictable. I remember going into a very early audition for ”Guardians”, and Sarah Finn, the casting director, said that (actor) Lee Pace could do anything.

“I remember being so blown away by that. It”s a hell of a statement, he can do anything. I knew right then that I wanted her to one day be able to say, ”Dave Bautista, he can do anything.” I want to be that actor, with a range that’s endless,” he added.

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