Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead releases this Friday, May 14, in theaters, and will arrive on Netflix on May 21. Ahead of its release, ComingSoon.net’s Managing Editor Tyler Treese got the chance to talk with Dave Bautista, who stars in the film as Scott Ward, a zombie-killing mercenary that decides to pull off a heist and tries to mend the relationship with his estranged daughter played by Ella Purnell.
Check out our Dave Bautista interview with the Army of the Dead star below to find out what drew him to the project, the surprisingly emotional story beats that were personal to Bautista, and what professional wrestlers he’d take on a zombie heist.
Tyler Treese: In the film, your character Scott is a man with a lot of burdens that hold him down and keep him from reconnecting with loved ones. Can you speak to that mindset and how you related to your character?
Dave Bautista: That is what drew me to the film. That is what sold me on the film. So to me, when I look at the film, when I read the script, everything else was just kind of backdrop, and it was not an afterthought, but it really wasn’t at the forefront of what I found important in this film. I felt like the heartbeat of this film was really Scott, trying to redeem himself and reconnect with his daughter, which is why I wanted to play him because I thought there was just a lot of opportunity to add depth to this guy. To add emotion to this guy. To make him an unpredictable action hero, to make him not generic. To make him just something different.
‘Cause a lot of times when you have action films, and you know who the action guy is, you know who the hero is, you know what he’s going to be and what he’s going to do. He doesn’t express a lot of emotion, and you don’t really pick up or get invested. You don’t get invested in what’s really important to him because he’s not expressing it. So what I really wanted to do is express that sentiment that what’s most important to Scott is his daughter, is his family, is getting back to a normal life. He just wants a normal life with his family. He wants to continue to where his life was before the world was turned upside down so that it was it. Then that was the core of the film for me. That’s still the way I look at it. I feel like that’s kind of the heartbeat of the film, and that was the way I look at it. I read the script and fell in love with it. That was the opportunity I saw to express that side of me as a performer.
Army of the Dead is such a fun movie, but I feel like the emotional scenes between yourself and Ella [Purnell] really make the film. Families get estranged all too often over miscommunication. Through your performance, we’re able to pull from being a father yourself?
Yeah. I mean, nothing about this story was really far from the truth. For me, it was easy to draw on my experiences from this because a lot of times in my life, I was given opportunities to pursue a career. For myself, you know, a kid who came from nothing, that was everything to me. I wanted the chance to pursue a better life for myself and be able to give a better life to my family. But a lot of times, we don’t really realize that when we’re pursuing those things with the best intentions of doing the right things, we often lose sight of why we’re doing those things. It happened to me. I was off pursuing a career, and I was off away from home and doing what I thought was necessary to provide for my family and give them a better life and also make the most out of my life.
But in turn, I neglected my family. I sacrificed time with them. There’s nothing that can bring that back. All you can do after, if you don’t recognize it while it’s happening, is try to make amends [and] somehow try to redeem yourself somehow. So, you know, again, I can relate to that and every aspect. For one, it’s very easy to have good intentions but to end up sacrificing things that are just irreplaceable. But it’s never too late to try to make amends for those and apologize for those and realize that you made mistakes and try to redeem yourself.
That’s so important to say. I wanted to end with a fun question. If you were doing a zombie heist, what professional wrestlers would you like to bring? Are you bringing Titus O’Neil with you?
Bring in Titus for sure. How many do I get to bring?
All right. So five right off the top of my head, I’m bringing Titus. He’s my number one guy. He’s my right-hand man. I’m bringing MVP. He’s my dude. He’s my soldier like that dude is, you know, he’s definitely coming with me ’cause he’s got everything that you need. I’m bringing Rey Mysterio because I believe Rey can do things that a lot of human beings are unable to do. I’m bringing Undertaker. ‘Cause Undertaker’s just a badass. I know we can depend on that dude. I’m also going to bring Big Show because if we need to sacrifice someone for zombies because obviously, you know, Big Show’s the guy. They will spend like days eating that guy. So we don’t have to worry about [it]. We know we got days to move around without zombies chasing us ’cause they’re going to be busy eating Big Show.
Amazing. Thank you so much for your time today.
Thank you to Netflix for setting up our Dave Bautista interview for Army of the Dead.