In order to build the hulking physique necessary to play Bane, Tom Hardy established a rigorous regiment that led him to gain 30 pounds of muscle for the role. Dave Bautista, on the other hand, could probably walk right onto the set and be ready to go.
The wrestler turned Hollywood star told Insider recently about his desire to play the classic Batman villain, but admitted that the door on that possibility has definitively been shut as James Gunn steps in to steer the DC film universe. (Gunn was hired by DC in October 2022 to lead their superhero universe, and has already been shaking up the studio’s status quo.) “I have had conversations with James about that but I think the direction he’s leaning in, completely rebooting that whole universe, he’s starting from scratch and starting younger and fresher and I think you need to do that,” Bautista said.
Bautista began lobbying to play Bane several years ago, and told a Justice Con panel in 2021 about the extent he was willing to go to try and secure the role. (There is a precedent of wrestlers playing Bane as the late Robert Swenson took on the character in 1997’s widely-maligned Batman & Robin.) “I want to play Bane so bad I went to Warner Bros., had an appointment with them, had an appointment with DC, walked in the door and said, ‘I want to play Bane’” Bautista said in 2021. “They were a little like ‘Whoa, we’re not even casting Bane.’ I was like ‘I don’t care, I’m playing him.'”
But in his Insider interview, the 54-year-old actor showed a strong sense of self-awareness, explaining that DC needs to set itself up “for the next 15 years,” and that despite his love of the character, he wouldn’t be the right casting choice in 2023.
“I don’t think at this point in my career that I can bring justice to Bane anymore. I just don’t know if I could handle the physical part, and I don’t think I would have the longevity to plan ahead for films,” he said. “So, I just don’t know if I’d be that guy.”
Gunn is poised to make some significant changes within the DCEU, including not bringing Henry Cavill back as Superman. Don’t feel too bad for Bautista, though, who has been on a prolific cinema run this last year, including a prominent role in Glass Onion, that’s poised to continue throughout 2023. He has high-profile parts in Dune: Part Two and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as well as M. Night Shyamalan’s unnerving apocalypse thriller, Knock at the Cabin.