It is difficult to imagine James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy series without the stone-faced, extremely literal, and absolutely hilarious Drax the Destroyer, and it is impossible to imagine any actor other than Dave Bautista doing justice to the role. But as the former wrestling star shared on an episode of Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, playing the comic relief is not what drew him to movies in the first place.
"What I really want to do, I like drama. Just regular old drama. Those roles for me are hard to get a hold of, but I'm constantly searching for them. But I'm limited sometimes. Sometimes it's really hard to get people to look outside the box and see someone like myself in those roles."
With his imposing physique, Dave Bautista seems a natural fit for the role of the big henchman, a role which he fulfills to a certain extent in his team in Guardians of the Galaxy. But the comedic aspects add a valuable new dimension to the character. That was something that the actor had a direct hand in influencing.
"And it's weird, the role in the first one, James Gunn rewrote it, and Drax was written very differently in the second one. The second one, I think James kind of tapped into my humor a little bit in the first one and decided that he wanted to put more of that in the second one. But in the first film, the comedic stuff was a challenge for me. I struggled with it. Some of that stuff they reshot, like, 'Nothing goes over my head.' Because they wanted to get a sense of Drax being such a literal character."
Playing Drax was not all fun and games. The character has a very tragic backstory which powers his quest to kill Thanos, and it was the exploration of that past, explained in a deleted scene in the first movie where Drax reveals the meaning behind his tattoos and how they relate to his past, that Bautista had most looked forward to acting out for the camera.
"The stuff in the first film that I looked forward to was the dramatic stuff, like Drax talking about his family being murdered right in front of him. Stuff like that scene, the really hard scene, was cut out. It was cut out of the film, because it was just kind of slow and dark. But that was the kind of stuff I was really looking forward to."
Even though that particular scene was cut, the film let audiences know that Drax's entire family had been slaughtered by the forces of Thanos, leaving the once-proud warrior to team up with thieves and conmen on his quest to get vengeance against the Mad Titan.
While Bautista then goes on to admit that it is hard for him to do comedy, because he does not find himself to be funny, Drax proved to be the breakout role the actor needed to be seen as a dependable and charismatic actor, in addition to gaining him the advantages of being a part of the most successful franchise in movie history.