×

SPOILER ALERT: This contains spoilers for “Knock at the Cabin,” now playing in theaters.

Dave Bautista is having one of the biggest years of his career. He’s coming off a clever part as Duke Cody in “Glass Onion,” wrapping up his run as hilarious brute Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and reprising his Glossu Rabban role in the sci-fi epic “Dune: Part 2” later this year. He’s currently starring in theaters in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, “Knock at the Cabin.”

“Knock at the Cabin” casts Bautista against type. He plays a peaceful second-grade teacher named Leonard who wears glasses and nearly bursts out of his button-up shirt. He also has visions of the impending end of the world. With three other strangers, he interrupts a family’s cabin vacation to give them a gut-wrenching ultimatum: The family must kill one of their own to avert the apocalypse.

At the movie’s premiere, Shyamalan revealed it was Bautista’s brief role in “Blade Runner 2049” that stuck out to him when he was casting “Knock at the Cabin.” As the hulking replicant Sapper Morton, Bautista puts up a fight against Ryan Gosling’s blade runner before being killed in the film’s opening.

“It’s not that verbal of a scene, but it was really how he carried himself,” Shyamalan said of Bautista. “When an actor is really thinking the correct thoughts, their body emanates all the truth. He was doing that and it’s a very, very tricky and difficult thing to do.”

Sadly, Bautista meets a similar, grisly fate in “Knock at the Cabin.” One by one, the four intruders kill themselves after having visions of the end of the world. Bautista’s Leonard is the last one to go, and he calmly sits in a chair and slashes his throat as the world outside erupts in lightning and flames. Recalling the day on set when he filmed his death scene, Bautista said it was “so beautiful out” that he didn’t want to die.

“We’re sitting out and the weather was nice, and I’m not in a somber mood,” he said. “I don’t feel like dying today, but this is my opportunity to die. Because it was so sunny and we were waiting for just a slight bit of overcast, we waited for a long time. There was one day when we waited and waited and it never came, so we had to come back to the scene. But by the time we came back, I just didn’t feel like dying that day.”

Even though his “Guardians of the Galaxy” role is his most well known, Bautista has made it clear he wants to find dynamic roles like “Knock at the Cabin” to earn credit from his peers in the industry.

“I always search out interesting roles, but I take them as they come,” he said. “I take some pride in what I do because I’m always searching for roles that will challenge me as an actor. I’ve got my year slated and I know what it’s going to look like, but I’m just looking for that next role that’s going to give me the same type of fulfillment as this. This fulfilled a lot of my wishes and dreams and what I’ve been asking for the last 10 years. I’m hoping this will win me a little bit of a respect factor amongst my peers because at the end of the day, it’s kind of what I’m after. I really want to be respected by my peers.”

But the one role that Bautista really has his eye on is Marcus Fenix, the lead character in Netflix’s “Gears of War” video game adaptation. After Netflix announced its upcoming film based on the brutally violent video games, Bautista posted a video of himself wearing the same “Gears of War” armor as Marcus, with whom he shares a striking resemblance.

So far, unfortunately, Netflix hasn’t reached out to him about the movie.

“I really hope they will,” he said. “It’s a part that I’ve sought after for years and I feel like I could bring a lot of heart to Marcus Fenix. I really would. I think I would do that part justice. I feel confident in it, so hopefully it’ll come my way and we’ll be having this conversation in a different way sometime.”