Why Dave Bautista Is Better Than Other Wrestler-Actors, According to James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn explains the advantage Dave Bautista has over other wrestlers that have appeared in movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn explains the acting advantage that Dave Bautista has over other wrestlers. Since being chosen for the role of Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bautista has become a reliable fixture in action movies. The former WWE superstar has displayed a range of characters as well, portraying a babysitter in My Spy and a Bond villain in Spectre. These leading roles and plum supporting turns were boosted by his portrayal of Drax, which has been lauded by audiences and critics.

Bautista’s path to success wasn’t always guaranteed, however. Other names were thought of initially for the part of Drax, including Jason Momoa, and Gunn has previously mentioned that he fought for Bautista to be cast in Guardians of the Galaxy. In new remarks, the director elaborates on his belief in Bautista’s talents.

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Related: Guardians of the Galaxy: What Drax The Destroyer’s Tattoos Mean

The exchange began when Chance The Rapper posted on Twitter to wonder aloud about why Bautista was such a talented actor. This prompted Gunn to respond in detail about what sets Bautista apart from other wrestlers and even other big names in Hollywood. Gunn’s explanation is refreshingly honest, serving as an example of how deeply the actor considers which performers to select for his projects. “The difference between Dave & many wrestler-actors is when you look in his eyes on set he’s in the place he’s supposed to be, not thinking about what he’s going to do next,” Gunn wrote. He then elaborated on that statement in a long Twitter thread:

Gunn’s explanation gets to the root of the differences between acting and professional wrestling, helping to clarify why other grapplers have struggled to make the transition to film and television. Wrestling, particularly in its televised form for promotions such as WWE and AEW, necessitates that a performer remains essentially hyper-aware of all their surroundings. It’s a live show, where the crowd in attendance is offering direct feedback on what they’re seeing. If a scripted line doesn’t get the anticipated applause or if a move doesn’t go as planned, the best wrestlers can often change things up on the fly. This kind of improvisation and looseness doesn’t exactly align with an actor’s job in a movie, which often includes intimate and quiet scenes that are carefully calibrated. Another difference is that, by its nature, professional wrestling is soap opera blended with sport. The emotions are heightened in storylines that are intentionally over the top. The most successful wrestler-turned-actors, like Bautista, know how to employ the positives that they’ve learned in the squared circle while still avoiding the bad habits.

Another interesting point of divergence is that, in the eyes of most wrestling fans, Bautista was not held up as an especially gifted actor for the bulk of his original run in WWE. Most viewers would readily admit that, despite possessing the kind of physical charisma that made him a very watchable presence, he was not particularly strong with other aspects like line-reading and emoting. It was only when Bautista’s character became a villain that he was able to showcase a bit more of his personality. This relates to a common complaint by WWE fans that the promotion struggles to write compelling heroes. Still, even beyond Bautista’s success in Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn offers worthwhile advice. For wrestlers like The Miz, who might hope to shift over to the big screen, it’s worth taking into consideration.

More: Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Can Succeed Where Star Wars Failed

Source: James Gunn

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Updated: January 8, 2021 — 1:51 am

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