A tattooed alien with fast reflexes, the deadpan character was played to perfection by Dave Bautista. In fact, Drax was Bautista's Hollywood breakout, propelling the actor into high-profile films directed by the likes of Sam Mendes and Denis Villeneuve. Of course, this wasn't Bautista's first taste of celebrity. Known simply as "Batista," this musclebound behemoth went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in the business…but how did he go from the WWE to the MCU?
Well, we'll try to avoid any complicated metaphors as we trace Dave Bautista's journey from wrestling powerhouse to Drax the Destroyer. Abandoned by his dad, he lived in poverty with his mom in a neighborhood plagued by crime—at least three people were murdered on or next to his lawn. In his autobiography , Bautista remembers the time a mob attacked someone outside his house.
On another occasion, he and his sister had to run inside as bullets started flying literally feet away. Things were so dangerous that Bautista's mom wouldn't let her kids go outside on Friday nights; as the superstar later explained, "Even during the week, we were not supposed to go out of the yard. That's all I knew. After arriving in California, the family continued struggling, and Bautista was forced to use milk crates and wire spools for furniture.
The young boy even had to tape cardboard inside his shoes to stop up all the holes. Sadly, as Bautista grew older, he found himself involved with a pretty bad crowd. In addition to his failing grades, Bautista was stealing motorcycles by age ten and cars by age A couple of decades later, he'd finally make it, but things would only get harder before Bautista finally found the professional wrestling spotlight.
Struggling to make it Getty Images By the age of 17, Bautista was living on his own , working as a lifeguard before winding up as a bouncer. Of course, bouncing isn't exactly a peaceful line of work, and sometimes things could get out of hand.
On one occasion, Bautista threw down with two unhappy customers, leaving one unlucky fellow bleeding in the street.
As a result, the bouncer was sentenced to a year's probation. Finally fed up with the way things were going, Bautista decided it was time to make some changes. Hoping to carve out a new future for himself, he got involved in bodybuilding—which he says helped turn his life around —but his plan didn't pan out. Even though he stood well over six feet tall and weighed in at pounds , Bautista failed to impress when he auditioned at WCW's Power Plant.
In fact, he was told he'd never succeed in the world of professional wrestling. It was yet another crippling defeat, but the man who would be Drax wasn't about to give up. Instead, he set his eye on a different prize: Getting into professional wrestling As someone who'd been getting into scrapes since age nine, tossing guys around in a cage seemed like a natural fit for Dave Bautista. So with a high school background in amateur wrestling , he dedicated himself to breaking into the big time.
My wife and I gave up everything. We borrowed money so I could train; it was do or die. Admittedly, Bautista was upset about the outfit, as it covered his "strongest asset" his body , although he later explained the suit forced him "to learn how to work in the ring. In addition to setting a record by holding the belt for days we're keeping it kayfabe, okay?
And if that's not enough to impress you, he also won two Royal Rumble Matches and got the best of stars like the Undertaker and John Cena. But while Batista was making a name for himself, not everything was quite so happy behind the scenes.
The company brass wanted to tone down the sex and violence, but Bautista preferred keeping things edgy. So when he squared off against wrestler Chris Jericho, things got a bit grisly when Bautista was whacked across the head with a metal pipe. On the podcast Talk is Jericho, Bautista implied that he used an actual razor to draw a little blood to make the pipe-bashing routine look more realistic. But when the cage match was done, he found himself in trouble with Mr.
I think that's the day that I knew things were never going to be the same. He wanted to score some acting gigs like his WWE coworker John Cena , but the company supposedly wasn't interested in giving him any juicy parts. So I left to accomplish certain things…" Feeling unloved by the promotion, Bautista called it quits in , and while he returned for a few guest appearances, it seems he's largely put his WWE days behind.
And once he stepped away from the ring, Bautista set his sights on making it in Tinseltown…but first he wanted to see if he could make it in the world of MMA. His short-lived MMA career After years of sticking to a script, Bautista decided to try his hand at something a little more real. Hoping to follow in the steps of someone like Brock Lesnar who became the UFC heavyweight champion , Bautista started training in mixed martial arts, working on his standup and training in jiu-jitsu with the respected Cesar Gracie.
Initially, Bautista hoped to sign with a promotion called Strikeforce , but the company was bought up and dissolved by the UFC. The burgeoning brawler was heartbroken by the news, but fortunately, a little promotion called Classic Entertainment and Sports CES stepped in, offering him his first MMA bout. Unfortunately, Evans was arrested shortly before the fight, so Bautista was given a new opponent—Vince Lucero, a man with over 40 fights on his record.
Physically speaking, Bautista and Lucero were as different as night and day. Bautista looked like Hercules, and Lucero looked like a sumo wrestler in the making. But when the two stepped into the ring in for Bautista's first and only fight, Lucero tagged the wrestler with several shots, stunning Bautista in the early seconds of the fight. Fortunately for Bautista, he managed to take Lucero to the mat where he started in with ground and pound, forcing the ref to call the fight.
True, it wasn't exactly an impressive fight , but it was still one for the win column. However, he then went on to explain that he wasn't in MMA for the belts or the glory. I have no ulterior motives. According to the budding thespian, he absolutely loved working on Wrong Side of Town, saying "it was so cool being part of the magic.
I thought since I had done on-camera stuff in WWE this was going to be the same…but then I realized…how hard it was. We start going over it, we start going over the dialogue, we start going over the mindset. Working on The Scorpion King 3, he watched as Billy Zane would "throw stuff out there," think about his work, and then attack the scene again.
Actor Dominic Purcell taught him about how subtle things like breathing could affect an entire scene, and while working on Riddick, future Guardians co-star Vin Diesel gave the wrestler a few pointers. As a result of his dedication, Bautista felt that whenever he finished a film, "I feel like I've gotten better.
Landing Guardians of the Galaxy If you land a major role in the MCU, you've pretty much got it made in the comic book shade. Just ask Robert Downey, Jr. So it makes sense that the former wrestler was really anxious about landing the part of Drax the Destroyer, the super-literal bruiser who really wants to get his hands on Ronan the Accuser.
Bautista even admitted to Wired that he was "terrified" when trying out for the part. After all, this was the biggest project he'd ever auditioned for. Auditioning alongside Peter Quill himself, Bautista appears pretty chill and incredibly natural as the otherworldly assassin. Of course, he was storing up a lot of anxiety, because when he finally got that fateful phone call, the waterworks started flowing.
Talking to Collider , Bautista revealed he was going to the gym when he learned the good news…and that's when he just "broke down. It's something that I wanted more than anything I ever wanted in my life. When I got it, I broke down and cried like a little baby. For example, he found some of Drax's prose to be a bit challenging, telling Hero Complex , "I don't have the best grammar, so it was a bit of stretch for me.
There was a line in there—it's one simple word—but it's where Drax goes, 'Behold. It was really challenging or me to get that one word out. Just a few days before shooting the scene, director James Gunn decided the choreography didn't look right, so Bautista had to learn his new moves in about 24 hours. But really, that's nothing compared to the makeup sessions. After all, Drax is a bluish-gray alien covered in tattoos, and it usually took four to six hours for the makeup crew to get Bautista ready for the day.
Even worse, he had to stand up for almost the entire time, although he leaned on a little perch to make things easier. Bautista didn't really mind the long hours, but he wasn't crazy about spending day after day in all that makeup.
Eventually, it would start to irritate his skin, and made him " constantly feel dirty. Naturally, the actor reprised his role as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. But Bautista has been doing a lot more than just Marvel work.
In , he played Mr. Hinx in Spectre, Blofeld's terrifying henchman who gives James Bond one of the best brawls in the entire franchise.
The man also put his martial arts skills to work in Kickboxer: Vengeance , playing an undefeated baddie by the name of Tong Po. Looking ahead, Bautista is also set to star alongside fellow macho men Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan 2 —and both Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling better watch their backs as Bautista will return to the realm of sci-fi in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner In other words, the WWE's loss was Tinseltown's gain, and it looks like Bautista will be winning hearts and bashing skulls on the silver screen for a very long time.