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Guardians of the Galaxy Dave Bautista — How He Put His Career On the Line to Defend James Gunn
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After far-right trolls resurfaced 10-year-old tweets in which director James Gunn made bad jokes about rape and child abuse, Disney fired him from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. But with the help of the Guardians cast, who staunchly supported the director, Gunn was rehired in March. And in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Drax star Dave Bautista revealed just how much he was willing to lose to support the filmmaker.
“Basically, I just wanted my friend rehired, and I never really thought about anything else,” Bautista told THR. “I wasn’t so concerned about my career at that point. I figured if my career was over, I could always fall back on professional wrestling. That’s one big perk about being a professional wrestler, I can go back to that because nobody can ever take that skill away from me.”
Last July, Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, and the rest of the Guardians cast published an open letter urging Gunn’s rehiring. “We’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3,” it read, “as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”
Bautista was especially outspoken in his support for Gunn. During an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show in September, he suggested he may not return to the series in the wake of Gunn’s firing. “To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney,” he said at the time. “I’m not afraid to admit the way I feel.”
When Ross pointed out that such frankness was rare in Hollywood, Bautista responded that he’s not “your typical Hollywood guy.”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.