Dave Bautista Chose ‘Army of the Dead’ Over ‘Suicide Squad’ to ‘Get Paid a Lot More Money’

The action star also wanted to get his foot in the door at Netflix to build a relationship with the streamer.
Dave Bautista, "Army of the Dead"
Dave Bautista in "Army of the Dead"

Dave Bautista previously revealed a scheduling conflict with Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” prevented him from following his “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn over to DC Films and Warner Bros. for “The Suicide Squad.” The action star had a choice to make at the time: Snyder’s Netflix original zombie movie or Gunn’s comic book tentpole? Bautista went with the former, and he explains the reason why in a new interview with Digital Spy (via Uproxx).

“I get to build a relationship with Netflix, I get a lead role in a great film — and I get paid a lot more money,” Bautista said about opting for “Army of the Dead” over “The Suicide Squad,” adding, “I had to call James, and I told him, ‘It breaks my heart, because as a friend, I want to be there with you, but professionally, this is the smart decision for me.’”

Bautista continued, “[Gunn] said, ‘I completely get it. I’m proud of you that you’re even in this position. I’m proud that I had something to do with you being in this position where you have to make these hard decisions.’”

“Army of the Dead” marks Bautista’s first collaboration with Snyder and Netflix, the latter of which could be a new home for the action star if all goes well with the zombie epic’s streaming release later this month. Gunn directed Bautista in two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, and the duo are reuniting for a third “Guardians” movie at a later date.

Bautista is fiercely loyal to Gunn, using social media after Disney fired the filmmaker from the Marvel franchise over past controversial tweets to call out the studio and condemn executives for the decision. The actor went as far as telling Disney to terminate his contract if they were going to throw out Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” script. Disney eventually reversed course on the decision, but by then Gunn jumped to Warner Bros. for “The Suicide Squad.”

“Army of the Dead” opens in theaters nationwide May 14 before streaming May 21 on Netflix. “The Suicide Squad” debuts in theaters and on HBO Max starting August 6. Gunn and Bautista’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” won’t be released in theaters until May 5, 2023.

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