‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Star Dave Bautista Recalls His ‘Nightmare’ Audition: ‘I Was Terrified’ (Video)

“I didn’t understand Drax,” actor says of his “Guardians” character

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista recalled his “nightmare” audition for the James Gunn movie, explaining how “terrified” he was to read for the part.

“Oh my God, it was a nightmare. I was terrified,” the actor said during a panel at the Denver Pop Culture Con on Saturday. “I was really desperate at the time, I had hardly worked in three years, and I had gone broke, I had lost all my money from wrestling and I was desperate to get a job. I finally got an agent, like, two weeks before I got the audition for ‘Guardians.’ My agent says ‘You know, I really had to fight to get you this audition. It was really hard to get, they didn’t really want to audition you. They didn’t want to see any pro wrestlers, so I don’t want to get your hopes up.’”

“He built my hopes really low, so I went in with low expectations,” Bautista continued. “I didn’t understand Drax. I called my acting coach and said ‘I don’t get this’ […] and he flipped out because he’s like the biggest fanboy. Anyway, he made me do a little research and I found one picture of Drax, and I said ‘That looks like me!’ He babied me through this whole process, my first and second auditions, my acting coach came with me, he was holding my hand like a little baby. I read for [casting director] Sarah Finn; she’s amazing. I read with her and she said ‘Don’t be nervous. Take your time, we can stay here all day.’”

Bautista was asked to return to read for Gunn, which must’ve gone well because Bautista got the gig and has since reprised his role in the sequel, as well as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” The chemistry read with Chris Pratt solidified the role for him.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” currently does not have a release date. Gunn will return to write and direct the installment, although he was fired from the franchise last year after online critics discovered years-old tweets in which he joked about rape and pedophilia. Gunn apologized and said he had grown as a person in the years since the jokes. Despite calls from many fans to reinstate him, Disney made clear at the time that Gunn would not direct the third “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise has made over $700 million at the box office, with the last installment scoring an opening weekend of $146 million two years ago. Both films were highly praised by critics and fans alike.

Watch Bautista’s panel above.