'Army of the Dead' Star Dave Bautista on Bringing Emotion to a Zombie Movie and the Future of Drax in the MCU [Interview]

Dave Bautista is always looking for a challenge. The Guardians of the Galaxy films may have transformed the former professional wrestler into a household name, but he’s not resting on his laurels. He’s constantly working, headlining action movies (Hotel Artemis, Bushwick), stretching his comedic chops (Stuber, My Spy), and lending unexpected gravitas to science fiction epics (Blade Runner 2049). And that’s before we get to his roles in upcoming films like Dune and Knives Out 2.

His latest role is a big one: he’s the leading man in Army of the Dead, a Netflix action/horror movie directed by Zack Snyder about a crew of mercenaries pulling off a heist in a walled-off, zombie-infested Las Vegas. It’s a very traditional Hollywood role – a stoic man of action – but Bautista finds room for emotion and humor, letting this guy exist in more dimensions than you’d expect.

/Film spoke with Bautista about how he found the emotional through-line of a gory zombie epic, his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his increasingly stacked filmography, and the time he watched himself act and hated it so much that he decided to do something about it.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Army of the Dead is in theaters now, and streams on Netflix on May 21, 2021.

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