Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy magazine for its latest issue, Bautista revealed he had an”emotional breakdown” with the relief of landing the”life-changing” role.
“It was months of auditions and screen tests, and flying back and forth to LA, and keeping my fingers crossed. They wouldn’t exclude me from the role, but they wanted to audition other people, so I’m just holding on, in the mix. I think I wasn’t established as an actor. They still had reservations.
“But when I finally got the role, I had an emotional breakdown. It was life-changing. It was life-altering for me. I had been struggling just to even get auditions. It was like three years after I’d left wrestling. I left wrestling on top. I took a chance on myself, and really struggled for three years.
“If it had gone a different way, I would have been crushed. I would have been devastated. But it literally changed my career. It changed my life.”
Bautista’s iconic performance has even caused writer and director James Gunn to recently clarify that the role of Drax wouldn’t be recast in any future movies.
Bautista also opened up on his friendship with Gunn, saying that he seemed”very interested” in him as a performer, despite his lack of acting experience.
“James treated me great from day one. He was just very open-minded in the way he looked at me. He only looked at me as a performer. When I came in and auditioned for him, I don’t think he knew anything about professional wrestling, I don’t think he [cared]. I could just see he was very interested in my performance.
“He took a lot of very personal interest in me as an actor which was, at that time, something really new to me because people only hired me because I did professional wrestling and built an audience in that.
“And I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I questioned his writing, because it didn’t connect with me. I never saw myself as a comedic actor. Sometimes I questioned it because it didn’t compute to me. But he was always right. People will come back to me and repeat those lines to me over and over.”
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1 and vol 2 are available now, while Army of the Dead is released on Netflix on May 21.