Major Film Director Calls Dave Bautista The GOAT Wrestler-Turned-Actor

Dave Bautista—or "Batista" to WWE fans—has been making an increasingly positive impression on Hollywood since his breakout in 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy." Unlike most wrestlers-turned-actors, he hasn't stuck with the usual action and comedy roles, broadening his horizons to the point that, in May 2021, FanByte's Willow Catelyn Maclay dubbed him "wrestling's first character actor," echoing a similar take from Collider's Vinnie Mancuso in 2019. The directors he's worked with seem to agree: In January 2021, "Guardians" director James Gunn explained in a since-deleted tweet thread how Bautista has always let his characters envelop him instead of consciously performing, and now, "Glass Onion" director Rian Johnson has a similar take.

"I absolutely 100 percent agree [that Bautista is the greatest wrestler-to-actor ever]," Johnson began, responding to The Atlantic's David Sims in an interview published Monday. "And I think somebody like [Paul Thomas Anderson] is going to give him a real part and is gonna look like a genius. As a person, Bautista is genuinely, immediately vulnerable when you meet him, and that's what I was excited about. This is someone who has the physical trappings of someone who would play it big, but he actually brings sensitivity to the role."

Johnson further stated that Bautista was the "Glass Onion" actor whose performance most pleasantly surprised him. "When I was writing [his character, a men's-rights streamer named Duke Cody], I was picturing a scrawny dude who's trying to overcompensate," he explained. "When Bautista was brought up, I was instantly so smitten by the idea. I've been a very big fan of his dramatic chops as an actor."

"Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" is currently streaming on Netflix.

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