It’s almost impossible for any wrestler-turned-actor to avoid being compared to Dwayne Johnson. After all, the wrestler formally known as The Rock is currently one of the biggest A-list actors in Hollywood. For Dave Bautista, however, leaving wrestling to pursue an acting career wasn’t an attempt to become the next Dwayne Johnson.
“I never wanted to be the next rock,” Bautista said in a recent GQ interview. “I just want to be a good actor. A respected actor.”
It was around 2009 when Bautista first started flirting with the idea of becoming a wrestler-turned-actor. As GQ notes: “[Bautista] Won the first of his six world championships in 2005, traded a small D.C. apartment for a Tampa mega-mansion and filled the driveway with a fleet of exotic cars and motorcycles. By 2009, Bautista was one of WWE’s single biggest stars — although, from his perspective, he wasn’t being treated like one.”
“John Cena and I were both headlining shows,” Bautista said. “I was [the face of] ‘Smackdown.’ He was ‘raw’. But he was being used [WWE-produced] Movies and television commercials and magazines, and I just had show titles. In fact, there was a point where he stopped making a film and I was headlining both sets and pay-per-views. It was just a feeling of, ‘We’re not getting equal opportunity.’
Bautista “couldn’t care less about acting” at the time, adding, “I felt like I was coming into my own as a wrestler. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it.” But seeing Cena get opportunities he wasn’t allowed to finish was one of the reasons Bautista left WWE in 2010 to become an actor.
Bautista would finally taste The Rock-level Hollywood fame when he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as “Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy,” a role that spawned seven MCU projects over nearly a decade. Bautista’s final Marvel outing is the upcoming third “Guardians” movie, and he’ll return to M. Excited to take on smooth roles similar to those she played in Knight Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two.”
“Honestly, I could give a fuck [about being a movie star]” Bautista told GQ. “I don’t live a very glamorous life. I live here in Tampa. I don’t care about the spotlight, I don’t care about fame. I just want to be a good actor. I want respect from my peers. I don’t need accolades – I really don’t, man. It’s about the experience, about knowing I’ve achieved something.”
Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin” opens in theaters on Feb. 3, followed by “Guardians Vol. 3” on May 5 and “Dune: Part Two” on Nov. 3.