Wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista thought he had blown his chances of starring in the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie franchise after a “nightmare” first audition.
The 50-year-old was really struggling financially when he tried out for the role of Drax the Destroyer in James Gunn‘s 2014 blockbuster, and he knew landing the job would be a long shot.
“Oh my God, it was a nightmare. I was terrified,” he recalled during a panel discussion at Colorado’s Denver Pop Culture Con on Saturday (June 1, 2019).
“I was really desperate at the time, I had hardly worked in three years, and I had gone broke, I had lost all my money from wrestling and I was desperate to get a job.”
“I finally got an agent, like, two weeks before I got the audition for Guardians,” he continued. “My agent says, ‘You know, I really had to fight to get you this audition. It was really hard to get, they didn’t really want to audition you. They didn’t want to see any pro wrestlers, so I don’t want to get your hopes up.’ He built my hopes really low, so I went in with low expectations.”
Bautista confessed he had no idea who the Marvel comic book character was when he first received the audition script, and he relied heavily on his acting coach for support and guidance throughout the process.
“I didn’t understand Drax,” he explained. “I called my acting coach and said, ‘I don’t get this…’ and he flipped out because he’s like, the biggest fanboy (of Guardians of the Galaxy). Anyway, he made me do a little research and I found one picture of Drax, and I said, ‘That looks like me!’
“He babied me through this whole process, my first and second auditions, my acting coach came with me, he was holding my hand like a little baby. I read for (casting director) Sarah Finn; she’s amazing. I read with her and she said ‘Don’t be nervous. Take your time, we can stay here all day.'”
Despite his lack of confidence, Bautista received a callback, and it was his onscreen chemistry with leading man Chris Pratt which helped him secure the part of Drax, who has become a fan favorite.
He went on to reprise the role for the 2017 sequel and featured in the last two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame.
He will also return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will be directed by Gunn once again, months after he was fired by Disney officials for offensive tweets he posted years ago, which resurfaced last summer (18).
Pratt, Bautista, and their castmates stood by the filmmaker and joined fans in urging studio bosses to reconsider Gunn’s exit, and their wish was finally granted in March (2019) when he was given another chance.
Production on the third installment of the franchise is expected to begin after Gunn finishes work on the Suicide Squad sequel.