Do you smell what the Duke is cookin’? Rian Johnson, director of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, has made the claim that Dave Bautista is the best wrestler-turned-actor to ever walk down the aisle and onto the red carpet.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Rian Johnson heaped much praise on Dave Bautista, saying the former WWE Superstar was the biggest surprise in the ensemble cast. “When I was writing [his character, a men’s-rights streamer named Duke Cody], I was picturing a scrawny dude who’s trying to overcompensate. When Bautista was brought up, I was instantly so smitten by the idea. I’ve been a very big fan of his dramatic chops as an actor.”
When the interviewer suggested that Bautista was “low-key the greatest wrestler-to-actor ever,” Johnson agreed, even saying that could make even bigger waves under the direction of another master. “I think somebody like [Paul Thomas Anderson] is going to give him a real part and is gonna look like a genius. As a person, Bautista is genuinely, immediately vulnerable when you meet him, and that’s what I was excited about. This is someone who has the physical trappings of someone who would play it big, but he actually brings sensitivity to the role.”
Dave Bautista has yet to collaborate with PTA, but he has worked under some major names such as Werner Herzog, Sam Mendes, Denis Villeneuve, and, of course, James Gunn. 2022 was a busy year for Bautista and his 2023 will be an even bigger one, as he’ll be heading M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, returning for Dune: Part Two and concluding his turn as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3–but will he die in the trilogy’s conclusion?
Dave Bautista has also shown utter respect for Rian Johnson, as just last week, Bautista posted a video of him giving his director a WWE belt when Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery wrapped production in 2021.
Dave Bautista is in a long line of wrestlers who left the squared circle for the big screen, some even giving incredible performances. In addition to current ones like Dwayne Johnson and John Cena, there’s Andre the Giant (The Princess Bride), Roddy Piper (They Live) and Hulk Hogan (uh, Suburban Commando?).
What do you think? Who is the best wrestler-turned-actor in movie and sports entertainment history?