At well over six-feet tall and nearly as wide, Dave Bautista faces a tough task in his bid to become the latest professional wrestler-turned-Hollywood-actor.
"It's been a challenge, man," says Bautista, who is nicknamed "The Beast" in the WWE. "It's kind of rough. ... It's hard to break that stereotype, break that label from WWE. ... When people see you and you look like a gorilla, they want to cast you as bodyguard number two, as a big dumb guy."
Bautista is likely to change minds with his role in the new Marvel Studios film, the sure-to-be blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening Friday. He plays Drax the Destroyer, a large, angry man out for revenge against the killer of his family. Drax teams up with a roguish adventurer, a tree creature, a bounty hunter raccoon and an assassin to take down the evil Thanos.
Bautista cuts an imposing figure, and it's even more intimidating as Drax, though the green skin and red body tattoos came with a price.
"I think I had the roughest makeup job," he says. "I had to remain standing for the entire makeup process. A lot of the people who had a lengthy process, they also had costumes, whereas Drax is shirtless. He refused to wear a shirt for some reason. I was begging them to make a jacket for Drax, but it wasn't going to happen. So yeah, I was always the first guy on set and always the last one to leave."
While the enormous Drax seems like an ideal part for a pro wrestler, Bautista is quick to point out that acting and wrestling are completely different beasts.
"I think a lot of people think that it would somehow help," he says, "but I always tell people the only similarity between acting and wrestling is that there's a camera pointed in your direction. Other than that, it's so different. Wrestling is so big and so broad and acting is so intimate."
That thoughtfulness is reflected in the way Bautista looks at his budding acting career. You'd expect a guy with his background to want to be the next action hero, but that's not at all what he's looking for.
"I need people to know and understand that I take acting seriously and I don't aspire to be this huge action star," he explains. "I'm not looking for the huge paycheck. I would even like to do some indie stuff -- just very good quality stuff. That's the challenge."