Dave BautistaHe’s a former wrestling world champion and, as villainous henchman Mr Hinx, he wants to annihilate Bond. But in real life, says the 46-year-old actor, he’s actually the shy type
THE RED BULLETIN: Are you an adrenalin junkie?
DAVE BAUTISTA: Why do you ask?
You have the physique of a cyborg warrior and in Spectre you chase 007 in a Jaguar C-X75…
I actually think of my character in Spectre as elegant and sophisticated.
Yes. For example, I was very careful with the Jaguar, because I definitely didn’t want to damage it.
At 46, you’re a six-time wrestling world champion, but quite a shy guy. That’s an interesting combination.
Let me tell you something… When I was wrestling, I had butterflies in my stomach every time I walked through those curtains. I was a very shy kid, and I’m still shy.
So why did you put yourself through the experience?
Out of desperation. Wrestling was my last shot to really do something incredible with my life. I grew up in the ghetto in Washington, DC, surrounded by crime and violence. I was a problem child, didn’t do well at school, and spent most of my 20s working in nightclubs. That would have continued, but when I was almost 30, I had two kids and decided that I wanted a future for them. It changed everything. For their sakes, I learned how to fight for a stable future.
I thought about what I could be really good at, if I put my mind to it. That’s how I got into wrestling.
It grew out of my experience in the gym. The gym was my sanctuary. It was a place where I came into contact almost exclusively with positive people. And lifting weights made me feel better about myself. That would be my advice to anyone: find something you are passionate about and then work at it with the utmost perseverance. You have to move out of your comfort zone.
So when did you get your big breakthrough?
It took a while to happen. I was a terrible wrestler in the beginning. But I’m a stubborn person and eventually I learnt how to overcome my shyness. I’m willing to embarrass myself. I’m prepared to take risks. I want to achieve something outstanding.
Your method clearly worked. Not only are you a wrestling world champion, you’re now a movie star, too.
Yes, but I’m still terrified when I have to audition for parts. I look like a gorilla, but I want other people to see what I really am: a serious actor.
Who in your life already sees you as you really are?
My mother, definitely. I inherited my strong will and kind heart from her. And my manager, who’s also my best friend. Whenever I’ve had a dream I wanted to pursue and everyone else has told me it’s impossible, he’s always been the one who’s said to me, “You can do it.”