Bautista’s talent puts him one step ahead of other wrestlers turned actors
Over the past 20 years, we have seen several WWE wrestlers turn to acting in films. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the most notable, having been cast in movies such as The Scorpion King, Moana, and the Fast & Furious franchise. John Cena is a relatively new face from the wrestling community appearing in films. He also stars in the Fast & Furious franchise, as well as in The Suicide Squad and the Peacemaker television series. Finally, there is Dave Bautista who has played roles in Dune, Spectre, and, most recently, Netflix’s Glass Onion.
While Johnson and Cena may be more well-known and celebrated for their roles in the ring and in films, Dave Bautista has quietly built himself a repertoire of roles that are more diverse than anything the former two have accomplished. The variety of roles, combined with his willingness to work outside of the roles that Cena and Johnson typically take, is what puts him at the top of the wrestler-turned-actor hierarchy.
There are many reasons why people would disagree with this belief. One of these is the fact that Dwayne Johnson has done more movies and brought in more revenue than Bautista. The number of movies as well as their $5 billion combined revenue is outstanding, but it is by no means a reliable metric for good acting. Likewise, Cena shows promise within the film industry, but much of his popularity has come from wrestling and his (for lack of a better term) memeability.
What we see from Bautista as an actor is a diversity of roles and a care for the scripts he reads. In an interview about why he chose Zac Snyder’s Army of the Dead over The Suicide Squad, Bautista stated his desire for lead roles and scripts that had layers. This is seen in Bautista’s recent filmography with roles such as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen in Dune and Scott Ward in Army of the Dead, which show his range and ability to portray complex characters in a way that enhances the overall movie.
Many people may disagree with this, stating that Bautista’s roles are not significantly more varied than those of Johnson. However, this is simply not the case, as Johnson portrays many characters in much the same way, with slight adjustments for the tone and genre of the film. Moreover, for these three former wrestlers, it is hard to avoid being cast in certain roles, but Bautista has found fluidity within his typecast.
Part of the reason that Bautista is so underrated may be because of his role as Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character itself is portrayed as an oaf, who is oblivious to social cues and who is downright silly. Even Bautista himself acknowledges this and says he is grateful to be done with the character.
Despite this, Bautista has shown his exceptional talent as an actor, and it is only a matter of time before more people begin to acknowledge it. With his most recent role in Glass Onion, as well as roles in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin and an expanded role in the Dune Sequel, more people should begin to see the ability this wrestler-turned-actor has on the big screen.