Dave Bautista says he has asked Marvel to release him from his contract over the studio’s firing of director James Gunn.
Speaking to Shortlist in his first interview since the controversial decision, Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the MCU, said he would be doing Gunn a “disservice” if he didn’t step away from the franchise.
The director was fired last month after alt-right activists unearthed a series of offensive tweets from several years ago.
“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” he said, speaking to ShortList’s Tom Ellen. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: f*ck this. This is bullshit. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”
Bautista said Gunn had already turned in the script for Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3. A replacement director for the film, due to shoot early next year, has not yet been announced.
“Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me.
“I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”
Bautista echoed this sentiment on Twitter during the early hours of Monday when he tweeted: “I will do what i’m legally obligated to do but [Guardians] without [James Gunn] is not what I signed up for. GOTG w/o [James Gunn] just isn’t GOTG. It’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis. That’s just how I feel. “
Last week Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper were among the cast members of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise to sign an open letter asking Gunn to be reinstated. According to sources at Disney it’s unlikely the the Gunn will be rehired, despite the backlash from the franchises A-list cast.
“I don’t think [it] will get him re-hired,” Bautista said. “But I hope it opens people’s eyes to James’ character.”
ShortList has reached out to Disney for comment and will update this article accordingly upon their response.
Bautista was speaking to ShortList ahead of the release of his film Final Score. The full interview will be in the September 6th issue of ShortList.
Final Score is in cinemas September 7th