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Dave Bautista Compares Filming Dune 2 To The MCU

Bautista liked that he didn't have to talk to any tennis balls while shooting Dune: Part Two


Thanks to his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his previous career as a pro wrestler, Dune: Part Two star Dave Bautista is probably still predominantly considered an action guy. But if you've been paying attention to his non-Marvel roles the past few years, which include movies by M Night Shyamalan, Rian Johnson, Sam Mendes, Zack Snyder and, of course, Dune director Denis Villeneuve, you'll see there's something else going on here. Those directors, along with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, are filmmakers we think of as auteurs.

Bautista didn't just happen to work with those folks, though.

"I was given the advice early in my career from Zoe Saldana to be very picky about my directors. It came from a conversation where I was telling her that I wanted real acting roles. I wanted roles that were layered and character driven, not these typical action roles," Bautista told me. "And she's like: 'Directors. You gotta be choosy about your directors and you'll find the roles.'

"And so I took that advice to heart and I sought out directors like M. Night, like Denis, like Rian Johnson, like James Gunn. Actually James Gunn, he was my first experience with a great director. And so I kind of kind of grew from there. It all stems from him. I think that was where it all started, with James Gunn."

With Dune and Dune: Part Two, Bautista got a particularly stark contrast to his time with Marvel. These Dune movies have the same sort of mega-budgets that Marvel movies usually have, but Bautista said the experience making Dune with Villeneuve couldn't be more different from his experiences with Marvel and James Gunn and the other directors he worked with in the MCU.

"I did seven films with Marvel, so my experience with them is different; every film was different. But there were a lot of times on the Marvel stuff where I had to perform it with tennis balls, a lot of green screen, a lot of imaginary stuff. This wasn't every film, it wasn't every experience I had, but a lot of the times it was," Bautista said. "And with Dune, the world's been created for us, a lot of practical sets. And so it wasn't that I had to depend so much on my imagination. They made it very easy for me, made it very real for me with practical sets and incredible actors. And also I didn't have to act with CGI characters. And so it was just a completely different experience."

Despite that difference behind the scenes, Bautista's role isn't too far afield of Drax from the MCU, though his Count Rabban isn't a very nice person. But for Bautista, talking to Denis and having those practical sets helped with his prep more than having surface-level similarities between those two characters did.

"I think once we got there in the world which was created, it just makes it easy. But I think my preparation for this role, for this character, was really through conversations with Denis. So it wasn't like I had to physically prepare for it, or when I got onto set I had to come get my mind ready to start," Bautista said with a laugh.

"When it's practical for us, we have the luxury of not having to deal with that. It's just one less thing to have to deal with. We don't have to be dependent on our imagination."

For Bautista, the key ended up being understanding Rabban's core motivation.

"You want to know where everything is with your character, where everything is rooted from, every thought. There's always something that led him to where he is now. And with Rabban, everything stems from him really just being a coward," Bautista said. "He's only ever been good at one thing in his life, and that's violence and rage. That's the only thing he knows. But when you understand that, that all comes from him just being insecure, and him desperately seeking approval, then you know who Rabban is and you know how to play him. So that's how I play him--everything comes from a place of insecurity."

Dune: Part Two is in theaters on March 1.

Phil Owen on Google+

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