Rian Johnson Says Dave Bautista Is The Best-Wrestler-Turned-Actor

Rian Johnson Says Dave Bautista Is The Best-Wrestler-Turned-Actor

If you haven’t heard, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery has everyone buzzing. It’s for good reason, too—the whodunit features performances by stellar cast members including Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn. and even the wrinkles on Dave Bautista’s head. Glass Onion had a short run in theaters in late November, but now that it has hit Netflix, viewers are hungry for more fun details from the film. (Clearly.)

Here’s a good one for the Glass Onion fandom: Rian Johnson, director of both Knives Out films, just talked up Bautista in a way that might stir up some friendly debate. “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,” Johnson said in a recent interview with The Atlantic. “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.”

Before we get to the juicy bit of the interview, know that Bautista started off as a professional wrestler, having several stints in the WWE for the past two decades. In 2006, Bautista began dipping his toes in the acting world, and has now established himself as a major player in Hollywood. Bautista starred as Glossu Rabban in 2021’s Dune, played opposite Kumail Nunjani in the action-comedy Stuber, and portrays the fan-favorite character Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. Apparently, it’s all enough for Johnson to throw down the gauntlet, suggesting in the interview that Bautista is the best wrestler-turned-actor ever.

“I think somebody like [Paul Thomas Anderson] is going to give him a real part and is gonna look like a genius,” said Johnson. “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.” The appreciation goes both ways, as Bautista shared a video on his Twitter showing a heartwarming moment from Glass Onion‘s wrap party in 2021. In the video, Bautista thanks the cast and crew for their hard work—and ends up giving his WWE championship belt to Johnson.

Do you agree that Bautista is the best wrestler-turned-actor? We’re sure that John Cena (who kicks butt in his DC series, Peacemaker) and Dwayne Johnson (the man formerly known as Black Adam) have something to say here.

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