Dave Bautista has carved out a really nice niche for himself, taking full advantage of his physicality by either playing imposing goon-adjacent parts or undercutting expectations entirely by bringing humor and/or an unexpected sensitivity to characters with far more layers than viewers might have assumed. Bautista could’ve tapped into the best of both worlds with the DC villain Bane, but it seems that was simply never in the cards once James Gunn and Peter Safran took over.
Bautista went on to describe how he’s come to accept the reality of bad timing:
“I think for the DC Universe to be revived, you need to start from scratch, and I think you need to start with younger actors. You need to start to plan for the next 15 years, and I just don’t think you can do that with me. And I understand that. And, also, I have to say that I appreciate that because I don’t want to play a character that I can’t bring justice to it. I don’t think at this point in my career that I can bring justice to Bane anymore. I just don’t know if I could handle the physical part, and I don’t think I would have the longevity to plan ahead for films. So, I just don’t know if I’d be that guy.”
Even at 54, Bautista has a lot left to offer … but that’s clearly at odds with the demanding contracts and schedules necessitated by such a major comic book movie role. As disappointing as that might be, however, at least he’s free to keep choosing demanding and challenging roles.
“Knock at the Cabin,” releasing February 3, 2023, may just feature his finest performance yet.