The casting process for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy cast a huge net, with all sorts of names being considered for every role. It perfectly suited the irreverent and rebellious tone of the film that the two biggest stars in the ensemble didn’t even appear onscreen, with Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper restricted to the recording booth.
Chris Pratt became an overnight A-lister after finally taking the plunge to audition for Peter Quill, while Dave Bautista landed his first major Hollywood role after quitting the professional wrestling industry to take a chance on launching an acting career.
However, new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via CBR reveals that while Marvel Studios wanted a muscular talent with comic timing for the part, Bautista admits they were actively avoiding the hiring of a wrestler as Drax.
“At first I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a misunderstanding.’ But no, I was told this, [that pro wrestlers are not being considered]. I just couldn’t make heads or tails out of them. I didn’t understand Drax at all. I called my acting coach, who is the biggest comic book geek ever, and he flipped out.”
Chadwick Boseman famously auditioned for Drax years before he was cast as Black Panther‘s T’Challa, while Bautista’s new BFF Jason Momoa turned it down, opening the door for the ex-WWE star to land the life-changing opportunity. It all worked out pretty well in the end, even if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is poised to mark the 52 year-old’s final contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe before he draws a line under his association with the world’s most successful film and television franchise.