The iconic DC villain Bane, best known for breaking Batman’s back, continues to be the character that got away for Dave Bautista.
The wrestler-turned-actor shared in an interview with Insider published on Monday that he approached James Gunn about the prospect of playing Bane following his Guardians of the Galaxy director’s ascension as Co-CEO and Co-Chair of DC Studios.
“I have had conversations with James about that,” Bautista said, “but I think the direction he’s leaning in, completely rebooting that whole universe, he’s starting from scratch…and I think you need to do that.”
Bautista went on to say that he believes if DC is to be “revived,” Gunn and Co-CEO/Co-Chair Peter Safran “need to start from scratch” — reimagining the cinematic universe with younger talent front and center. “You need to start to plan for the next 15 years, and I just don’t think you can do that with me. And I understand that,” said the actor. “And, also, I have to say that I appreciate that because I don’t want to play a character that I can’t bring justice to it. I don’t think at this point in my career that I can bring justice to Bane anymore. I just don’t know if I could handle the physical part, and I don’t think I would have the longevity to plan ahead for films. So, I just don’t know if I’d be that guy.”
Bautista has been vocal on Twitter for years about his desire to play Bane — who was most recently portrayed by Tom Hardy in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. His campaigning for the character most recently made headlines in 2021, when he divulged that he’d approached higher-ups at Warner Bros about the idea. “I’ve made no secret about this,” the actor said in an appearance at Justice Con, reported on by Collider. “I want to play Bane so bad I went to Warner Bros., had an appointment with them, had an appointment with DC, walked in the door, and said, ‘I want to play Bane.’ I’m not kidding.”
The actor admitted that those he spoke to “were a little like, ‘Woah, we’re not even casting Bane,'” though he added that not even this fact could deter him from his goal. “I was like, ‘I don’t care, I’m playing him,'” he said at the time.
Bautista has previously collaborated with new DC Boss Gunn on three Guardians of the Galaxy films — as well as a Holiday Special — portraying the larger-than-life mercenary, Drax the Destroyer. The final film in the series, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is set for release on May 5.
Even if Bautista has admitted to his desire to join DC, he also said in a recent interview with GQ that there’s a “relief” in leaving the superhero universe of Marvel behind, as he looks to cement his reputation as a serious actor. “[Working on Guardians] wasn’t all pleasant. It was hard playing that role,” he said. “The makeup process was beating me down. And I just don’t know if I want Drax to be my legacy — it’s a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff.”
Bautista most recently starred alongside Daniel Craig and many more in Rian Johnson’s acclaimed Knives Out sequel Glass Onion for Netflix, which is this year nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He’ll next be seen starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s horror-thriller Knock at the Cabin, which is out this Friday, February 3. Among other upcoming projects for the actor is Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, which hits theaters on November 3.