The Strange Obstacle Dave Bautista Had To Overcome Before He Was Cast In Blade Runner 2049

Dave Bautista Blade Runner 2049

It's no secret that Hollywood has a tendency to dabble in ageism. After all, it's an industry obsessed with youth and beauty, and as a result actors often find themselves aging out of roles shockingly quickly. It's a problem that pretty much every performer faces at one point or another -- but what's kind of funny is that Dave Bautista had the complete opposite experience while going out for a part in Blade Runner 2049. Rather than being too old for the role that he wanted, he was repeatedly told that he was actually too young, and really had to fight as a result. Bautista recently told me,

The funny thing is that when I first met with Denis [Villeneuve]... because I wasn't originally asked to audition, I was actually asked to fly out and meet with Denis. And so I did; I was filming Guardians 2 and I went out to meet with him. And we weren't very far in the conversation, like really not far in the conversation, when he said, 'I hate to tell you this, my friend, but you are too young for this part!' And I was heartbroken! Not only heartbroken, but I'm used to being told I'm too old for parts. And now I'm just frustrated. I just can't win! I can't win in this town!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dave Bautista at the Blade Runner 2049 domestic press day in Los Angeles last month, and it was while talking about the look of his character, Sapper Morton, that we discussed the rocky road the actor took towards being a part of the production. I noted in our conversation that he looks significantly older than normal in the blockbuster, wearing glasses and sporting some grey in his hair, and he explained how that wound up being part of a major obstacle when he was first trying to get the part.

Clearly this story has a happy ending, as obviously Dave Bautista is in Blade Runner 2049, but it definitely wasn't easy. Not only did he have to grapple with a sense of rejection after his first meeting with director Denis Villeneuve (pleasant as it was), but he couldn't land the gig during his second attempt to do so either. Said Bautista,

But we sat down and we talked for a couple hours just about everything -- about movies and life and Montreal. And I walked away feeling very satisfied with that, because I really respect him, I admire his work. So I went back, but then they asked me to do a makeup test and I said, 'Sure, no problem! I want this part!' And I did, and they sent the pictures in. 'Still doesn't work.' [throws hands in the air]

Of course, the saying goes that the third time is the charm, and it definitely was for Dave Bautista. The first two 'No's' were apparently not enough to dissuade either him from still going after the part, and he had the support of Blade Runner 2049 producers at his back. Bautista went in for a final test, and it was in that that he finally convinced Denis Villeneuve:

So they wanted me to do a screen test! The producers were really supportive of me getting this part, but they were never going to go against Denis' wishes, and he just thought I was too young for the part. I didn't work. And then I did the screen test, and he said, 'It works!' And I said, [fist pumps], 'Yes!' When I got there he was also very supportive; he was saying, "I'm so glad I chose you for this.'

You can watch Dave Bautista tell his own epic tale of finally landing his part in Blade Runner 2049 by clicking play on the video below!

Given the secrecy surrounding the film, not much can yet be said about Dave Bautista's specific part in Blade Runner 2049, and it should be noted that it's not a GIANT role -- but he definitely makes it count. Without getting into details, at age 48 he is perhaps a bit too young for the part he's playing, but he ultimately brings such weight, drama and power to the role that it can be said Denis Villeneuve definitely made the right choice casting him.

You'll be able to discover Dave Bautista's Blade Runner 2049 role for yourself very soon, as the movie is now just a few days away from the theaters. The blockbuster, which stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks and Jared Leto, is in theaters this Friday, October 6th, and we'll have plenty more great content coming your way in the next few days here on CinemaBlend!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.