Stone Cold Steve Austin To Thank For Dave Bautista’s Movie Career

Stone Cold Steve Austin gave advice to Dave Bautista on transferring to acting, words of wisdom that the MCU star says helped shape his career.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Since his breakout role as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave Bautista has enjoyed roles in several hits in and out of the MCU, including Dune (2021), Avengers: Infinity War, and Glass Onion. Bautista’s filmography is a well-curated selection of not only big projects, but good ones, and Bautista has Stone Cold Steve Austin to thank for that. Stone Cold, Dave Bautista told GQ, gave him advice years ago about how to choose good roles, and how to have the courage to turn down bad ones.

“You’re going to get offers for horrible scripts,” Austin told Bautista. “The money will be tempting. Don’t get caught in that trap.’” A wrestler-turned-actor himself, Stone Cold was a step ahead when Dave Bautista decided to take the leap into acting. Bautista took his friend’s advice seriously, but not without struggle.

“You’re going to get offers for horrible scripts, the money will be tempting. Don’t get caught in that trap.’”

Stone Cold Steve Austin’s advice to Dave Bautista

After Bautista left the WWE, his spoils from his days as a pro wrestler evaporated in no time. He lost his house and sold off vehicles to survive; as he put it to GQ, “I had to start all over.” Even in dire straits, with his nose to the grindstone doing small parts in movies, the advice from Stone Cold still rang in Dave Bautista’s ears.

Bautista racked up cash and experience bit by bit until the dam finally burst; he was driving to the gym when he heard he was cast in James Gunn’s Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy. The advice Stone Cold Steve Austin had given Dave Bautista had finally put him in the position he had been waiting for. “I had to pull over because I was crying so hard,” Bautista recounted. 

His role in GOTG rocketed Bautista to stardom. Even with the privilege of a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems the Stone Cold wisdom Dave Bautista applied to the beginning of his career continues to influence his professional choices. Not every project Bautista touches turns to gold, but he has consistently found his way into critical successes like Blade Runner: 2049, Dune, See, and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

knock at the cabin
Dave Bautista in Knock at the Cabin

Bautista’s wise project selection led him to filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, whose psychological thriller Knock at the Cabin is set to haunt theaters in March of 2023. Bautista said his role in Knock at the Cabin is the most he has ever spoken in a film, a challenge that will be a good test for the actor who aims to apply his talent to more dramatic roles. For his future ambitions, the tried and true guidance of Stone Cold may prove to be one of Dave Bautista’s greatest assets.

In addition to Knock at the Cabin, 2023 will see Bautista’s Marvel sendoff with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, followed by the Fall release of Dune: Part Two, in which Bautista’s formidable role is expected to be much larger than in the previous film. As he told GQ, “I never wanted to be the next Rock. I just want to be a good f*****g actor. A respected actor.” With Stone Cold’s words of wisdom in hand, Dave Bautista will ride into the post-Marvel phase of his career to do just that, and he has plenty of fans eager to watch him succeed.