We’re now officially in the back half of the 2014 summer movie season, but still my most anticipated blockbuster of the season remains the same one that it’s been since the start: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The sci-fi adventure looks like 120 minutes-plus of epic intergalactic fun, and the wait for the film’s arrival in theaters has been agonizing. What has both eased and aggravated this condition are my memories going back to last year when I got an incredible behind-the-scenes look at the film.

Last fall, I was invited by Marvel Studios and Disney to take a flight out to London, England with a small group of other journalists to visit the set of Guardians of the Galaxy. Touring through the various departments and interviewing members of the cast and crew, I learned a number of fascinating things about the upcoming blockbuster that I’m delighted to share with you now.

Guardians of the Galaxy Drax
Dave Bautista Beat Academy Award Nominated Actors For The Role Of Drax
Dave Bautista looks absolutely incredible as Drax The Destroyer. Sitting down to answer questions on the Guardians of the Galaxy set in full makeup, the wrestler-cum-actor looked entirely badass, alien and natural in his grey skin with red, vein-like tattoos. As perfect-looking as Bautista is for the part, however, he still had to face down some serious competition in the casting phase.

"I can’t even see how it’s possible that we found him and how that happened," Gunn said, enthusiastically fawning over his star. "He went up against a lot of other actors when he tested—Academy Award nominated actors and everything—and he got the role because he was the best actor."

What sold the director is that Bautista came as a full package. In addition to being absolutely massive (seriously, built like a brick house), Bautista was able to impress Gunn by fully delivering the Shakespearean-esque dialogue and finding a heart and soul inside a big mountain of an alien.

From Bautista’s perspective, the casting was a slam dunk: he truly sees himself as Drax and eels he was really born to play the part. Digging into the history and personality of the character, the actor discovered a surprising number of connections that allowed him to completely bond with him mentally. Said the star,
"I love putting on the make-up and everything and especially the fights, but you guys don't get to see the context. The context is really the icing on the cake. They're really cool, but I can just relate to Drax so much, it's not even funny. The simple things that we have in common - I mean, simple, simple things like the tattoos and, the tragedy, because I had a bit of tragedy in my life as well. And so it's really easy for me to pull from that. And stuff where it's just such coincidences, like Drax using two knives. Those are his weapons of choice. I've done kali for years just by chance. It’s just the little stuff like that."

It’s a performance that the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy have not really shown us much of yet, so get excited to see it all unfold on the big screen.

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