Another Marvel is expressing his joy at being released from the machine. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 marks Dave Bautista’s departure from the MCU, and like his co-star Zoë Saldana, he’s quite happy to be closing this chapter. Coming off of the critically acclaimed Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, Bautista is looking forward to doing more of what the MCU’s detractors might call real cinema.
“I’m so grateful for Drax. I love him. But there’s a relief [that it’s over],” the former WWE star tells GQ in a new profile. “It wasn’t all pleasant. It was hard playing that role. The makeup process was beating me down. And I just don’t know if I want Drax to be my legacy—it’s a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff.”
This is far from the only time Bautista has explained his desire to stretch his acting muscles. “What I really want to do, I like drama. Just regular old drama... Those roles for me are hard to get a hold of, but I’m constantly searching for them,” he said on the Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside Of You podcast back in 2020. “But I’m limited sometimes. Sometimes it’s really hard to get people to look outside the box and see someone like myself in those roles.”
He has also shared his disappointment in how thin the character of Drax became, noting in that podcast interview, “The stuff in the first film that I looked forward to was the dramatic stuff, like Drax talking about his family being murdered right in front of him. Stuff like that scene, the really hard scene, was cut out. It was cut out of the film, because it was just kind of slow and dark. But that was the kind of stuff I was really looking forward to.”
Bautista tells GQ he wants to be “a good fucking actor. A respected actor.” (Not, he says, like fellow WWE alum Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.) Luckily for him, more directors are giving him a chance to go dark. Describing his upcoming role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock At The Cabin, he tells GQ, “It’s by far the most I’ve ever spoken in a film. Just huge pages of monologues. We were shooting on film, which is very expensive. And we were shooting with one camera, so you don’t have the luxury of edits. It’s your only opportunity—you need a perfect take. It’s a lot of pressure. I want to remember my dialogue, but not at the expense of losing the emotion of the scene.”
He also says he would work “for fucking free” to be number one on the callsheet for his Dune and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve. Not only because of the caliber of Villeneuve’s projects, but because “I think that’s how I could find out how good I could be,” he says. “He brings out the best in me. He sees me in a different light, sees the performer that I want to be. That might be how I solve the puzzle.”