VT Interviews Dave Bautista And Tests His Knowledge On British Slang
At this moment in time, former professional wrestler-turned-Hollywood actor Dave Bautista is one of the most sought-after talents in the entertainment industry. It can often be perplexing to non-wrestling folk as to how or why wrestlers would even try to break into Tinsel Town, but if you're a lifelong wrestling fan like myself, it's pretty easy to understand.
During his time in WWE, Dave Bautista - known simply by his ring name "Batista" - accomplished nearly every single accolade possible. He is a former six-time world champion, a former tag-team champion, intercontinental champion, two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and has headlined WrestleMania in front of a live audience of over 100,000 fanatics.
It is easy for many people to forget that WWE is a billion-dollar behemoth in the world of sport and entertainment, and their wrestlers are born performers who embody a "character" almost every minute of the day - and this is what makes acting come second nature to them.
After originally departing the wrestling business in 2010, many of Bautista's critics believed he would struggle to transition into acting (despite the fact the biggest movie star in the world right now is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - a former WWE Superstar in his own right).
In fact, whilst going through several 2010 movie reviews of Bautista's work, I found several reviewers who described his acting as "wooden", and one critic who went as far as to say, "it's a sad state of affairs when professional wrestler Batista pulls out the best performance in your film". I bet that guy feels pretty stupid now...
But the truth is this: when you're 6' 6", 290 lbs, and have experience taking direction and working in front of cameras on a weekly basis, it really is no surprise Bautista hit the hallowed grounds of Hollywood running.
After relatively minor roles in movies like The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption, The Man with the Iron Fists, and Riddick, Bautista soon became an international household name with his portrayal of Drax the Destroyer, one of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. His hilariously dry delivery, impeccable timing, and, at times, emotional anguish, meant he stole the show in nearly all of his scenes.
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a pretty big Dave Bautista fan (or "mark" as they say in the wrestling world). Therefore, it was pretty much a dream come true when I got to sit down with the big man himself to discuss his new movie, Final Score.
Firstly, a brief synopsis on the movie. Bautista plays ex-solider Michael Knox, who finds himself forced to use his extensive military skill-set against a revolutionary terrorist group after they threaten the lives of a 35,000-capacity crowd as they watch West Ham United Football Club in the semi-final of the European Cup. (If you follow English football, you'll know that the most unbelievable thing in this movie is the fact West Ham have made it to the semis of a European Cup tournament.)
So, about a week before the movie's release, I found myself in a London hotel, being led into a stuffy room cramped with lighting equipment, promotional posters, an entourage of people whose names I never learned, and sat in front of me was the star of the show" Dave Bautista.
I introduced myself, shook his hand (IT WAS MASSIVE) and took a moment to explain to him that I was a big fan of his work. He thanked me for the comment, I took the seat opposite and we got down to it.
Straight away, I asked Bautista to give me a brief rundown of Final Score, to which he quickly describes it as "Die Hard in a football stadium", which, after seeing the film, is a perfect comparison - it certainly feels like a throwback to action movies from the 80s and 90s. However, Bautista also stressed how the movie has "heart", due to the strong relationship between Knox and his niece, Danni, played by Lara Peake.
Perhaps one of the most surprising things from the interview was that despite the fact Bautista is a walking action movie, he is incredibly erudite and softly spoken - almost like he's aware that if his voice hits a certain decibel, it'll just sound like a nondescript roar.
All that was going through my head by this point was: "Oh my god, I'm interviewing a former WWE champion", "I literally have an action figure of this man", and "HE IS FRICKIN' HUGE!" Seriously, the man is an absolute tank in-person.
Talking about his time working in the capital, Bautista explained how he "loves working in London" and that the city is "near and dear to [his] heart". This is probably because all the production studios have held him up in Kensington and Richmond and other places where I literally cannot afford the rent.
We then get down to the real point of the interview, as I had entered the room with the full intention of playing a wonderful game regarding British slang. My hope was to have "Big Dave" singing 'Knees Up Mother Brown' and eating jellied eels. The result, however, was much funnier.
Watching a man of Bautista's large stature so confused at terms like, "up the duff" and "Ruby Murray" was fascinating - and his face when I mentioned "Spoons" (an abbreviated term for cheap pub chain Wetherspoons), was an absolute picture. And overall, we both had a good laugh (although, I bet only one of us will remember it for the rest of their life).
I'll admit, Final Score isn't going to win any Oscars. There's a lot in terms of the writing, plot, and action that will divide viewers - but Dave Bautista's stellar performance just isn't up for debate. No longer shall he be referred to as a "former professional wrestler-turned-actor", and simply be known as an "actor".
So if you're after a kick-ass movie to watch on a Friday night as you shovel popcorn into your mouth, then I couldn't recommend it more.