Filmmaker Thinks Batista Is Best Wrestler Turned Actor Ever


Batista is getting high praise from the director of one of the Star Wars films.

Dave ‘Batista’ Bautista had small film roles when he was still a pro wrestler and didn’t switch to acting full-time until his departure from WWE in 2010. He returned for a bit in 2014, and after that he got his biggest acting role as Drax The Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Beyond that role, Batista has found acting roles big and small over the years. And while he doesn’t appear to be drawing the same box office numbers as other wrestlers-turned-actors like Dwayne Johnson or John Cena, Dave Bautista is getting much more praise from industry experts.

One of those is Rian Johnson, the director of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, who lauded Batista’s acting skills in an interview with The Atlantic. Johnson was quick to name Batista when he was asked which actor surprised him most:

“Dave Bautista. 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. 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.”

When the notion of pro wrestlers becoming actors came up, Johnson continued praising Batista as the best to ever make the career switch.

“[Batista is] Low-key the greatest wrestler-to-actor ever. I absolutely 100 percent agree. 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.”

Batista’s latest film is called Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which was written, directed, and co-produced by Rian Johnson. It was released on September 10th, 2022 and has already been nominated for and won several film awards.