Dave Bautista gambled on himself when he left the WWE to pursue an acting career, and it’s paying off big time for him. The wrestler turned actor has starred in many movies in his still rather young career, but this particular role could be considered a dream one.
The actor who is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s go-to guys is set to take on the undead in Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie/heist film Army of the Dead. In the movie, Bautista plays Scott Ward, a hardened survivor of the zombie wars in Las Vegas, which is now ground zero of the zombie apocalypse. Sin City is now closed off from the rest of the country to keep the zombies locked in, and Ward is now a cook at a diner to pass the time.
All of that changes when he is presented with an opportunity of a lifetime by a sketchy casino boss named Bly Tanaka, played by Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat). Tanaka wants Ward and a team of his choosing to head back to zombie land to pull off a daring heist and break into a vault located in the bowls of a casino that contains $200 million just sitting in it.
Ward is promised a decent cut, and he could use the money to change his life, but to get the job, Ward and his team will have to battle a horde of zombies lead by a small group of super zombies with an undead tiger as a pet.
Cassius Life had the opportunity to speak with Dave Bautista, and we asked him about his eagerness to work with Zack Snyder which we learned he turned down a huge role (Suicide Squad) to be in this film. Bautista began his answer by explaining his love for film and being a student of the game as one of his sole reasons for wanting to work with the Justice League director and father of the “Snyderverse.”
“I love films, and I am a student of this game. I want to learn this business more than anything because, at the heart of me, I am a storyteller,” Bautista begins. “I want to put my stories on film, and I want to tell them that way, and hopefully, they will inspire people because that was important to me as a child, and hopefully, I can give back to that and inspire somebody else.”
When it came time to answer why he wanted to work with Snyder, it was nothing but glowing words and high praise for the director. Bautista explained it was Snyder’s amazing attention to detail regarding the cinematography aspect of his movies that lured him away from James Gunn’s Suicide Squad film to Army of the Dead, which he admits he didn’t want to do at first. Still, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with Snyder or Netflix, for that matter, who cut him a nice check.
“The thing that I always thought was really special about Zack’s films, the common denominator in all of his films no matter what genre is that they were all visually exceptional. Like he just has a visual eye. He’s just an artist, so I wanted to work with him. I was so captivated watching 300, and it was just so new and refreshing in the way he did it, the way it was narrated, the story that was told, visually the way the film looked. I thought, man, this guy is special. He’s just on to something.”
The praise for Snyder didn’t stop there, with Bautista revealing he met with the director to talk about working on a different film before Army of the Dead, but that didn’t pan out. The actor also shared that Snyder not only served as the director of the film, but as the cinematographer too, and it blew him away to see Snyder do what he does best and put the camera on his shoulders to get those amazing shots we have become used to seeing in his movies.
To close out the interview, we also asked where Bautista ranked the film’s super zombies on the list of the baddies he has faced in his previous movies. He revealed to us he would place them “pretty high,” which says a lot being that he battled the Mad Titan himself in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos, and EGO, the living planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2.
“I’ve never looked at anything as terrifying as a bunch of crazy athletic stunt people dressed up as zombies running towards me *laughs.* Like ungodly speed,” he begins. “If it wasn’t a film and I wasn’t the hero in this film, there’s no way I would have made it out that casino.”
No lies told. Chalk that up to Zack Snyder’s twisted sense of humor when it comes to making the iconic movie monster even more terrifying.
Netflix’s Army of the Dead arrives on the streaming platform and in theaters on May 21.
You can watch the entire interview above.
Photo: Clay Enos / Netflix