EXCLUSIVE: After showy turns in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and tomorrow’s opener Blade Runner 2049, former wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter Dave Bautista is getting his own movie vehicle to shine in. STX has closed a deal to partner with Bautista and develop an action-comedy franchise that he will star in and produce. Jonathan Meisner will co-produce alongside Bautista, and Drew Simon will oversee the project for the studio.
Aside from his work opposite Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in the Denis Villeneuve-directed Blade Runner 2049, Bautista stars in a short film made to tie the new film to the Ridley Scott-directed 1982 predecessor. Bautista’s been appearing in more studio fare, after his breakout turn as Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel. He has taken Drax to the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed Avengers: Infinity War, and he’s currently shooting the sequel. Separately, Bautista wrapped the Lionsgate pic Hotel Artemis, opposite Jodie Foster, and stars with Sylvester Stallone in both upcoming Escape Plan sequels. Bautista has started to build a following overseas, and stars in the Chinese Ip Man spinoff for director Yuen Wo-Ping. He also starred in and produced Bushwick, a drama seen at the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance. Also upcoming, he stars with Pierce Brosnan and Ray Stevenson in the Scott Mann-directed Final Score for Signature, the Fyzz Facility and Atmosphere.
Bautista returned to the WWE to headline 2014’s Wrestlemania. That’s where he got his start, as a six-time world champion and international spokesman for the company. Bautista is repped by Gersh, MSK’s Jay Rosenthal and Meisner Entertainment Group.
Here is the Blade Runner 2049 short that stars Bautista: