— May 7, 2021
If there is any filmmaker who can take the most credit for turning Dave Bautista’s Hollywood career around, it would have to be James Gunn. The filmmaker cast Bautista against type in the role of Drax the Destroyer in his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and the rest is history. Now, as Bautista prepares to headline his first big-budget movie, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, as the main lead, the wrestler-turned-actor revealed that he had to turn down a role in Gunn’s upcoming film The Suicide Squad to work on Snyder’s project.
“James Gunn wrote a role for me in The Suicide Squad, which I was all fired up about, not only because he was making a huge comeback. He’s come back with The Suicide Squad and was rehired by Marvel, and has really been vindicated as far as that whole thing went. I was all up for it, and then I got Army of the Dead, which was not only a lead role for me, but also I really wanted to work with Zack Snyder. I’ve been wanting to work with him for years.”
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In the middle of making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gunn was fired by Disney over some controversial tweets he had made in the past. At the time, Bautista was one of Gunn’s most vocal supporters, publicly blasting Disney over their treatment of the filmmaker, and threatening to quit if he was not brought back.
Clearly, Gunn felt the same sense of loyalty to Dave Bautista and wrote a role specifically for the actor in The Suicide Squad. But then Zack Snyder came calling with his Netflix project Army of the Dead, which is being described as a “zombie heist” film.
In the movie, Bautista plays the lead role of a mercenary who leads a group of desperadoes into the heart of Las Vegas to recover a giant cache of money. The trouble is, Vegas is now the epicenter of a horrifying zombie virus outbreak. According to Bautista, Gunn was supportive of his decision to choose Army of the Dead over The Suicide Squad, seeing what it would do for his career.
“I had The Suicide Squad where I got to work with my boy again, even though it’s a smaller role, and then I had Army of the Dead on which I get to work with Zack, I get to build a relationship with Netflix, I get a lead role in a great film – and I get paid a lot more money. I had to call James, and I told him, ‘It breaks my heart, because as a friend, I want to be there with you, but professionally, this is the smart decision for me.’ [Gunn] said, ‘I completely get it. I’m proud of you that you’re even in this position. I’m proud that I had something to do with you being in this position where you have to make these hard decisions.'”
Directed and co-written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Raúl Castillo, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi, and Ana de la Reguera. The film will release on Netflix on May 21. This news orihinated at Dihital Spy.
Dave Bautista Breaks Down Why He Really Left The Suicide Squad to Do Army of the Dead