Dave Bautista's Been Ready To Stop Playing Drax After Guardians 3, And He Just Scored A Long-Awaited Action Movie

Although Dave Bautista has been acting since the mid-2000s, that portion of his career received a major boost when he debuted as Drax the Destroyer. Nearly a decade later, he’s now made seven appearances as the character, including in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, one of the latest 2023 new movie releases. However, Bautista said earlier this year that while he “loved” Drax, he’s ready to move on from the role and wants to “do more dramatic stuff.” Keeping that in mind, it’s been announced that the actor has scored the lead role in a long-awaited action movie.

Lionsgate has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to The Killer’s Game, the film adaptation of the same-named novel by Jay Bonansinga. Dave Bautista will play a veteran assassin named Joe Flood, who, per the official plot synopsis, is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and orders a hit on himself so he can avoid the pain that’s coming his way. However, upon learning he was misdiagnosed, Joe must fend off the “army of former colleagues” who are now determined to kill him. Day Shift’s J.J. Perry is directing the feature, and James Coyne handled rewrites on the script originally penned by Rand Ravich and Simon Kinberg. Producer Andrew Lazar said this in a statement about The Killer’s Game moving forward:

We are so thrilled to be making The Killer’s Game with Lionsgate and Endurance. We have searched far and wide and we finally found the perfect Joe Flood in Dave Bautista, who balances compelling action and incredible comic timing better than anyone else. And with JJ Perry at the helm, we know this film will deliver the kind of wholly original and unique action that global audiences crave. Lionsgate is the perfect home for this project. They have consistently proven their ability to connect action audiences with the best films in the genre. We are believers that The Killer’s Game is the perfect mix of action and comedy, and right now, there’s no one better at threading that needle than Dave Bautista. We can’t wait to get started.

As detailed by THR, The Killer’s Game has been in development for over two decades, with the project being set up at Paramount in 2004, and directors like Alex Proyas, Renny Harlin, Wolfgang Petersen and John Woo having considered tackling it beforehand. By 2015, it had been moved to Broad Green, follows by a shift to STX in 2018, with Jason Statham and DJ Caruso respectively attached to star and direct. Statham dropped out in 2019, and then Dave Bautista took his place, but then the project was set aside… until now. Although J.J. Perry made his directorial debut with the Jamie Foxx-led Day Shift, which Netflix subscribers can check out, he’s been active in Hollywood as stunt performer, stunt coordinator and second unit director for 25 years.

The Killer’s Game is just the latest project Bautista has lined up for himself following his exit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (read our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ending feature to learn where the threequel left off with Drax). Among other things, he’ll next be seen reprising Glossu Rabban in Dune: Part Two this fall, and he’s also returning for the My Spy sequel. Additionally, with a Gears of War movie going forward at Netflix, hopefully Bautista will be called up for that given how long he’s expressed interest in playing Marcus Fenix.

While we wait for more news on what to expect from The Killer’s Game, take a look through the 2023 new movie releases to see what’s hitting theaters later this year. If you’d like to revisit nearly all of Dave Bautista’s Drax outings, those can be streamed with a Disney+ subscription, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will eventually end up on that platform.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.