You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dave Bautista Talks Representation in Hollywood and Defying Stereotypes with ‘Stuber’

Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani make an unlikely duo in “Stuber,” an R-rated comedy about a police officer and his Uber driver. But the two connected over the rare chance to star in the film as actors of Asian descent (Baustia is half-Filipino and Nanjiani is Pakistani).

“I’ve been stereotyped for a couple different reasons – one for my ethnicity and also because of the way I look. I look like a gorilla, I get that,” Bautista told Variety at the film’s premiere at L.A. Live on Wednesday night. “I get that I’m excluded from some parts, but sometimes it really sucks to be labeled like that. So, I love that we touch on it [in this movie] and we actually even, we poke at it a little bit because there’s times where you do label people sometimes and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

“I actually did another film recently where I insisted the cast be very diverse in ethnicity. So, for me, it’s a personal thing because I’ve been that guy,” he added. “[But] I think this is who America is and I think people want to see themselves on screen.”

In “Stuber,” Bautista plays Vic Manning, a rowdy police detective who ropes Nanjiani’s unassuming Uber driver named Stu into hunting down a dangerous drug dealer. But why does Manning need an Uber instead of driving his own police car? Because he’s been temporarily blinded by Lasik eye surgery — violence and hilarity ensue.

“I think it’s great that Hollywood is thinking that people of color who lead movies — like studio movies — is profitable,” Nanjiani told Variety. “That’s the most exciting thing to me. They’re not doing it because they want to be more diverse or improve the world. They’re doing it because it’s better for profits. We’ve seen so many people of color-led movies doing really well at the box office.”

Aside from the marked improvement on the diversity front, “Stuber” also gave Nanjiani the opportunity to try to be an action star while the former WWE wrestler showed off his comedy chops.

“I’d never done action, so it was a whole new type of acting that I had never done or thought about, not practiced at all. And then Dave was just so good at it; he’s done it so much. But I really was learning from the best while I was doing it,” Nanjiani continued, telling Variety he tried to channel Bruce Willis, labeling him one of the best action stars because “he could do action really well and be really funny.”

The comedian also shared that his-costar felt “he had to learn comedy,” though he’d already been so funny in films like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Bautista explained the initial lack of confidence went both ways: “[Kumail’s] more athletic than he gives himself credit for.”

“I really didn’t show them how to do anything,” he continued. “I was just kind of there as his buddy. Like being very supportive because he was very self-conscious about what he was doing. I was like, ‘Dude, you’re killing it…you’re crushing it.'”

So, what’s next for the pair? Nanjiani is rumored to continue playing the action star in Marvel’s “The Eternals.” Bautista is already a member of the MCU and will reprise his role as Drax in the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy 3.” His advice for his potential Marvel brother-to-be about joining the superhero family: “I would advise him — that if it is true — that he just keeps his mouth shut until it is announced.”

“Stuber” is in theaters now.

More Film

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Selected for AFI's Life Achievement Award

    The American Film Institute Board of Trustees has selected Julie Andrews as the recipient of the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Andrews on April 25 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT. “Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the [...]

  • 4127_D001_00007_RC Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs.

    'Downton Abbey' to Dominate Box Office Weekend With $30 Million

    The feature film version of “Downton Abbey” is heading for an impressive $30 million opening weekend at 3,079 sites for an easy victory at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday. The launch of Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” will land in second with about $20 million, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content