Dave Bautista Recalls ‘Heartbreaking’ Conversation With James Gunn When Picking Army Of The Dead Over The Suicide Squad

Dave Bautista ready to attack Las Vegas zombies in Army of the Dead

Dave Bautista’s casting in Guardians of the Galaxy was integral to him laying out a new professional path following his time in the WWE. That chance came courtesy of the film’s director, James Gunn. Gunn’s backing led to Bautista’s booming acting career, causing a crossroads moment for the actor. The Guardians of the Galaxy actor recalled his “heartbreaking” conversation with the director about picking Army of the Dead over The Suicide Squad.

For Dave Bautista, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead was a prime opportunity to headline a big-budget action film. But it meant turning down a chance to work with friend James Gunn on The Suicide Squad. The actor recalled the moment he had to choose Snyder over Gunn:

The decision was heartbreaking. The conversation with James Gunn was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my career. Because this is a man who is not only a friend, but this is a friend who had faith in me and believed in me when not a lot of people did. And he not only changed the trajectory of my career, but he also changed the trajectory of my life because he had faith in me.

After the director taking a gamble on him, it’s understandable that Dave Bautista would have some guilt. James Gunn helped to push Bautista beyond just being another wrestler who acts. But having a tough time choosing between the projects showed the level of loyalty he has to Gunn.

While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, the Army of the Dead star opened about the stress associated with his tough decision. He revealed James Gunn had written a role for him in The Suicide Squad. The actor said about the conversation with Gunn:

So, to go to him and tell him that I can't do this film, and I can't do the role that he wrote for me, was so hard. It just really hurts my heart even thinking about having this conversation. So, at the time, it was a supporting role and a great film, but I was doing it because it was with James Gunn. I just wanted to work with my friend.

Dave Bautista’s words spoke to the strong connection between him and James Gunn. Of course, having a specific role written for him made his final decision even harder. But apparently there were no hard feelings.

The actor revealed that James Gunn was incredibly supportive of his final decision. The director took a sense of pride knowing Dave Bautista's career had come to a place where he had to make such a big decision. Much like Gunn, fans should be proud the wrestler-turned-actor is at this place in his career.

But this isn’t the first time Dave Bautista has talked about his huge decision behind choosing Army of the Dead over The Suicide Squad. It seems Bautista made the right decision given there are talks of a sequel. Viewers will see the actor reunite with James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, as well as the Holiday Special. In the meantime, you can watch Bautista killing zombies in Army of the Dead streaming on Netflix.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).