Yes, folks. Size matters. Especially when you’re Dave Bautista and you had a goal of wanting to play a zombie.
Dave Bautista was on the set of his new Zack Snyder Netflix film Army of the Dead when he spilled the details to Empire. “I’m a zombie fan,” Bautista flexed. “I tried to get on Walking Dead for years. I said I would come and play a zombie for free, but they said, ‘You’re too big!’” We’ll give The Walking Dead that, Bautista is a big fella, but come on. He said he’d do it for free. Throw him in some baggy clothing or CGI the hell out of him. It’s not like former professional wrestlers couldn’t be zombies, most of the world became zombies. Seems like a major missed opportunity for producers of the series.
Now, though, it looks like Dave Bautista will get to live out his zombie-filled fantasy with Snyder’s Army of the Dead. The story takes place during a zombie apocalypse but don’t think this zombie flick is like any others you may have seen. As Snyder puts it to Entertainment Weekly, “It is a full-blown, balls-to-the-wall zombie heist movie, so it’s genre-on-genre in a great way.”
The “heist” in question involves a team of less than desirable people who decide to infiltrate Las Vegas. Sin City has been turned into a zombie prison of sorts as the government has been able to contain the zombie outbreak by building a wall around Sin City. Damn it and the Raiders just built their new stadium there. Anyway, this team decides to do the unthinkable – break into Las Vegas and take funds from the casinos who weren’t able to take it for themselves. According to Snyder, there is much more to the movie than zombie gore. “So you expect pure zombie mayhem, and you get that, 100 percent. But also you get these really amazing characters on a fantastic journey. It’s going to surprise people that there’s a lot of warmth and real emotion with these great characters.”
Surprisingly, even with Dave Bautista’s desire to jump into zombie mode, it took some convincing to get him to sign on the dotted line. At first, he wanted no part of the film, even though Snyder was looking to the overgrown Bautista as his lead. “I said I wasn’t interested,” Marvel’s Drax said to EW. Zombie desire aside, Bautista says at the time he was a little chippy. “I had this chip on my shoulder and was looking for juicy [dramatic roles].” Hmmmmm, Bautista and dramatic roles. Not seeing it. Thankfully, he took a gaze at Snyder’s script and that was all it took. “Then I read the script and it was a lot deeper and had more layers than I thought. And also, to be quite frank, I wanted to work with Zack.” Bautista became so convinced that this was the right movie for him, coming at the right time in his career, that he gave up his part in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad just so he could keep his role in Army of the Dead.
So now it looks like The Walking Dead’s loss is Army of the Dead’s gain. But there is that one burning question. Will we actually get to see Dave Bautista’s dream come true and transform into a zombie? That could be part of the “real emotion” Snyder is talking about. Netflix hasn’t given a release date for Army of the Dead other than to say it will get a summer release. If you’re curious as to what Dave Bautista will look like in the movie, check out the clip below. He comes in around the 1:15 mark and don’t blink, it goes fast. Looking forward to this one.