Dave Bautista faced a tough choice in 2019 when deciding on his next career move, although it was still an enviable position to be in for someone that had only been a full-time actor for less than a decade.
He had the option of two big budget blockbusters being helmed by filmmakers with a proven track record of success, with James Gunn writing the part of Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad specifically for his friend and Guardians of the Galaxy collaborator, while an offer was also on the table for Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie thriller Army of the Dead.
In the end, Bautista chose the latter for personal and professional reasons due to his desire to work with Snyder, the opportunity to play a leading role and the increased paycheck that comes with headlining a $100 million action movie. However, in a new interview, Snyder admitted that the former professional wrestler was initially hesitant to sign on to the project before he had a chance to read the script.
“Dave, I’d been a fan of his and I wanted to work with him. And he didn’t want to do it, actually. I called him. I said, ‘Dave, you want to do this zombie movie?’. He was like, ‘No, I’m not really, no, I don’t think so’. But I wasn’t finished. ‘It’s got a lot of heart’. And he was like, ‘Wait a minute. What do you mean?’. So literally, he read the script, and he called me back immediately, and he said, ‘Okay, I didn’t realize. I didn’t know’. And I said, ‘It’s okay. It’s okay’.”
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By all accounts, Bautista is the latest onscreen talent to have forged a close bond with the director, and has nothing but the highest praise for the architect of the DCEU. Snyder has also touted him as the next Bane, something the Blade Runner 2049 star has already made clear he desperately wants to happen, and the 52 year-old has been winning praise for his turn as Army of the Dead‘s Scott Ward as well, belying his hulking frame by giving the character an air of resignation and world-weariness that makes it clear that he’s not a typical action hero, but one that isn’t averse to the idea of mowing down undead hordes if there’s a substantial payday at the end of it.