CROWDS DIG DAVE BAUTISTA. During his run as a WWE pro wrestler, the six-time champion got pretty hooked on hearing the roar of 70,000 fans. His ears are still ringing. “Nothing will replace that electricity,” says Bautista, who stepped away from the sport (aside from some cameos) in 2012. In his unlikely second act, Bautista has found himself a Hollywood heavyweight — literally — a 6'6, 270-pound star known for playing the soulfully deadpan Drax the Destroyer in Marvel films like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Infinity War. Between the wrestling and Comic-Con crowds, Bautista is now recognized instantly in airports and health food stores across the planet. So you might think that after a pandemic year lying low in his Tampa, Florida, home, the dude might be itching to get back in the mix. To jump back into being adored, you know?
Not quite. “This is like, my jam!” says Bautista. “Quarantine is my shit. I’m socially awkward. I miss going to movie theaters and taking my family to baseball games, but I don’t mind being alone.”
Bautista won’t be alone for long. On May 21, he plays a mercenary in the zombie heist flick Army of the Dead, a big-budget summer movie on Netflix from director Zack Snyder (300). In October, Bautista stars in the sci-fi blockbuster Dune as the sadistic villain Glossu Rabban, reuniting with director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049). And later this year, he’ll don Drax’s greenish-blue makeup again to shoot Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Safe to say that millions of eyeballs will be on Bautista in coming months. So how’s he been spending each day while waiting for the world to reopen? We checked in.
EVERY DAY IS A GOOD DAY
The alarm doesn’t ring in the Bautista household until about 9:30. That makes sense, perhaps: “I tend to get into things on the later side,” he says. Bautista spent his 20s as a bouncer, didn’t start wrestling until he was 30, and didn’t find success as an actor until he was already into his 40s, when Guardians director James Gunn took a gamble. “Guardians changed the trajectory of my life. It gave me a new start. It stripped away everything that I had in wrestling and let people see me as an actor. I was broke. My house was foreclosed on. I had just lost everything. I was barely working. I couldn’t get auditions.” Point being: Bautista, most days, wakes up in a pretty good mood. “Because I had fortune so late in life, I never take anything for granted,” he says.
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