Continuing on with my interviews of the stars and director of Guardians of the Galaxy, today’s feature focuses on Dave Baustista, wrestler, actor. Playing the role of “Drax the Destroyer” in what has become this summer’s biggest blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave has transformed himself from a weekly figure among the wrestling circuit to formidable actor on the big screen.
Dave walked in to sit down the our group of mommy & dad bloggers to talk more about his role as Drax. Having seen the movie the night before, we were all amazed at Dave’s performance and in the movie. The first, most obvious question was.
Q: How much did your WWE training help prepare you for this movie?
Dave: No, it’s weird because it’s so different. I guess being athletic helped me a little bit. I picked up on stuff kinda easy. It’s just so different from anything that I’d ever done. We had really good stunt guys and kinda relied on them for their advice, and they showed me how to do stuff, and I would do it, I’d mess it up and they’d say, well, try it this way if it’s easier. And I’d say no, I like the way you did it because it looks cool that way. So just show me how to do it that way, and I’d just do it and do it until I picked up on it.
Noting that it took 4-5 hours each day to transform him from Dave to Drax was no easy task. With all of the color and tattoo design, every detail had to be recounted each new day of filming.
Trying hard to transform his image from brute wrestler and MMA fighter to a actor has been no easy task for Dave. When asked about what attracted him to the role of Drax, Dave answered with:
Oh, it’s easy. It was because he’s (Drax) a nut job. It’s because I’ve been wanting to do a role that wasn’t kind one noted. You know, it’s kinda multi-layered, so a character with a little bit of an emotional range, you know, which is something that I needed for my career, like, really bad because I think people have a certain perception of me leaving wrestling that they just saw me as that guy, and I’m really not that guy at all.
(Writer side note: I loved this answer)
We nudged Dave a little on his childhood favorites and how he felt about possibly becoming a comic book hero himself:
Q : What’s it like taking on the role of an iconic hero? And were you a fan growing up?
DB : I had no idea who they (The Guardians) were before I got this role. I had absolutely no idea because it’s not one of your mainstream comics. As far as it being a more- it’s just really starting to hit me how big it really is. When we started doing press last week, and we went over to Singapore to do it, and when you fly, you know, across a world to go somewhere for a destination hundreds and hundreds of people show up, you know, not only to talk to you, but to see you, and that they, are already in support of this film which hasn’t come out, you know, they’re just so excited about it. And it’s pretty overwhelming, yeah.
I think one of my favorite parts about talking with Dave was how he candidly recalls one of the funniest moments onset. Apparently the director, James Gunn, and entire crew were all in on the joke to Dave.
Wel lthere was one day where James, I think for his own amusement, decided to make the whole cast and crew dance. It was weird because there was the huge outdoor scene andabout two hundred extras on set, and for some reason, it just turned into a, a big thing.
So while I don’t (want) to give any spoilers right now, there was the part where Star Lord was bent on- distracting Ronan, by doing a dance on. Okay, so we were shooting that scene with all those extras on set. So when we were shooting it, Chris (Pratt) started doing his thing, and then he pointed to Ronan (Lee Pace) and Ronan started dancing. I wasn’t aware of what was going on. I had no idea.
And, I was watching him and I thought, okay, you know, that’s Lee. He’s messing around. But then he pointed back to Chris, and then Chris pointed- and so everyone’s dancing, and I was like, “what the hell.” Then I went, “oh no.” So Chris points to me. So I did some big goofy water sprinkler type movie, and then I pointed back to him, and then James – I could hear James laughing, and he starts saying, uh, okay background- extras, start dancing, and literally, it turned into, like, three hundred people dancing.
And it was like, okay, crew, dance, and then get everybody just dancing, so it literally, it, like, turned into this big rave. It was hysterical.
Dave noted that he is currently working on a remake of the movie “Kickboxer” and would love to continue his career in acting. Also noting that his heart will always be with wrestling, he longs to find a niche in acting and maybe return to wrestling someday and maybe have some cameo roles.
What some may not know is that Dave is a father to two grown daughters and grandfather to two young boys, whom accompanied him to the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy in LA last month.
Dave took a moment to step out with all of us for a photo before moving on to his next press event. I really feel like Dave was a bit overwhelmed and humbled with the mass that has become Guardians in recent weeks. Breaking box office records over it’s national premier weekend has set in stone that Guardians has carved it’s niche in Marvel history and paved the road for many opportunity for Dave and the other members of the cast.
If you STILL haven’t gone to the theaters to see Guardians of the Galaxy, you are missing out. Head there soon and catch it before it leaves the big screen, as this makes all the difference in the world.
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Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense paid trip as part of a press Junket with Marvel to cover this and all Guardians of the Galaxy media.