When you play a character like Drax, it’s hard to imagine the man behind the makeup being self-conscious and very mild mannered. Well, in this Dave Bautista Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Interview, you see just how this is possible. He talks about how the way he looks is more about hiding behind how uncomfortable he is in the spotlight much more than about gaining that attention. He also wishes the audience could get a glimpse of Drax’s family. To have that visual. This interview is a fantastic look at the man behind the character.
Last time I saw Dave was on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 last year. He was in full makeup and a little more comfortable it seemed to talk about being on the set, doing stunts and even what it was like to be back for a sequel. This time he’s not in makeup and even though compared to the first time we spoke during the first Guardians movie, he still not 100% comfortable, yet gracious in his answers.
Dave Bautista Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Interview
As Dave enters the room, we all applaud. His performance is phenomenal. He just makes Drax so funny!
So, in the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 —
Dave is clearly distracted, and for a good reason. Tessa Smith of MamaSmith.com has a Guardians of the Galaxy sleeve tattoo on her arm and Dave had been tweeting with her for a bit.
Sorry. (laughs) So totally distracting. That’s so awesome, man.
“Oh, thank you,” says Tessa, obviously dying a little inside. I mean, it was great!
So, in this movie, Drax came to the forefront in a more prominent role, kind of a little connection with he and Mantis. How excited were when you saw that in the script for this film as opposed to the first?
You’re not gonna like this answer. When I first read the script, I wasn’t crazy about it. So, I read over my dialogue and for one I was expecting Marvel to go a different direction with Drax. I thought he was gonna be more of the destroyer. I figured 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. (laughs)
Oh, but you are!
I just didn’t get it, and I read the script, and I thought, wow, this is 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. (laughing) And then I just had an entirely different outlook on it as a whole.
So now that you’ve seen this new movie a couple of times and you see how funny it turned out, can you talk about the experience of seeing it put together?
Okay, well, let me talk about the whole film first.
I think it’s beautiful. I like it better than the first film. It’s weird, one of the things I feel like the more and more we get into the movie, the more I am sucked into it, I just get so emotionally invested in this film. And I felt that 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 myself on film, I just cringe. I just like don’t to watch myself on film. It’s just uncomfortable. And last night at the premiere every time I was on the screen like 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.
So you see yourself, you don’t see the character you are playing?
I have not gotten to that point. Eventually, I will, but right now I still me and I still judging myself, and it’s just hard for me to do.
So when you hear us laughing at those parts, does it bring about relief? I mean because obviously you were hilarious and we loved enjoyed every moment you were on the screen.
Yeah, it does, but, I don’t know how to describe it, but I don’t watch — I don’t like watching myself on screen. It’s just uncomfortable for me. That’s why I don’t watch — like when we do — we were filming and we watched playbacks, everybody knows that I don’t like ‘em.
They call Zoe and Chris like to watch the playbacks. They don’t call me to watch them because cause they know, I won’t.
Drax obviously lost his great love. Do you think he ever will get in a relationship with someone else in the future?
No, not 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. You know, he’s just too heartbreaking. I don’t think he’ll ever have a romantic connection with anyone. Never.
Did wrestling help you bring out the Drax in you by having that experience?
Not really. 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. And I never really thought about it, but it really is. So, maybe subconsciously it does help a little bit, ’cause Drax is definitely not who I am.
He’s big and boisterous and a little bit egotistical and proud. (chuckles) And I’m just not that. I’m just much more self-conscious and understated. But, you know, maybe. I just never really thought much about it and I never put it in that perspective. But, yeah, maybe it does have something to do with it, especially when, you know, Drax starts laughing. It’s just so big and ridiculous. (laughing)
What do you hope for your character moving forward?
Good question. If I had some input in it, I would say — yeah, I’d really love for people to have a visual, you know, 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’d really think it would be great if the audience could just have a visual of Drax’s family. But as far as storylines, yeah, I have no idea on that. Wherever they wanna take us.
Let’s talk about the full body makeup, did it take as long this time around?
It’s most my body (laughing), but actually, it’s not bad. It takes about an hour and a half now, and that’s on a bad day. On the first film, it took like 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 hard to get off, but otherwise, it goes on fast, and I can’t complain.
Can you talk about the chemistry on the set?
Roker’s a bit of a prankster, not so much where he would do something just to irritate somebody or have a laugh at their 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 just I mean a lot of great chemistry. And we also got close in the first film and have spent so much time together on press tours and whatnot. And now we’ve done like three films together as the Guardians. We’ve done, you know, Guardians 1 and 2 and The Avengers. So, we’ve spent a lot of time together.
The cool thing about that I think had a lot to do with Sara Finn casting and James because we had great chemistry. It just naturally happened. We don’t just overthink it. And that was a huge luxury coming into the second one. It felt comfortable with everybody. I didn’t need to feel self-conscious, ’cause 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, 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 like really sweet about and she just kinda accepts it at the end.
You mentioned the Avengers.
I would love to spill the beans. I can tell you this. We’re in the Avengers. (laughing)
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 opposite. For one, we had the luxury that 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 we have a certain way of doing things. I mean we’ve done two films. We just bounce off each other. Chris hardly ever says anything that’s actually on the page. (laughing) You know, he says it a bunch of different times and a bunch of different ways.
So, that’s just the way we do things. We’re very flexible. And they were just very encouraging of just letting us do things our way.Not only that but they liked it. Like they appreciate it. A lot of times we would say something that wasn’t even close to what was on the 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.
Looking from the outside in, we can all tell this is a whirlwind. What is your downtime, get centered again?
I go home to Tampa, and I hide. (laughing) I do. I live in a regular neighborhood. Like where I’m at is 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 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, ’cause like all this attention and the spotlight very uncomfortable for me.
And I tell people like that — ’cause nobody really gets it, man, when we’re walking like down the red carpet, and they’re saying, oh, this is great. And I’m like for me it’s not. It’s like, I enjoy it. I don’t hate it, but it’s just — at the same time 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, ’cause I love it. I was passionate about it. That doesn’t mean I was always like super comfortable. I did it because I wanted to step outside of my career zone and pursue my dreams, which is terrifying.
Drax has an incredible body.
Thank you. (chuckles)
How do you fit working out into the schedule of shooting and what do you do to keep so fit?
Well, for one, it’s like it’s a lifetime thing for me. It’s a commitment thing. It’s so weird, man. I think people expect me to have a certain personality because of the way I look. I always tell people I look the way I do because of the personality that I have because the only place I ever felt comfortable was working out. Like I just felt like I was a fish put back in the water. I felt like I could just do this on my own. It just made me feel good and 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. So, it’s just something I do. It’s a life commitment for me. So on days that I’m makeup, I just can’t work out. But, you know, 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 lotta pushups in my trailer or free squats on set when we’re standing there doing nothing just to keep my blood flowing.
So, just like little things like that. Just being conscious and aware of it but also having that thing that internally says that working out just makes me feel better. It just makes me get through the day easier, yeah.
Read more of my Dave Bautista posts.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens May 5, 2017
*I was invited by Disney/Marvel to attend a special press trip to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.