Dave Bautista has set his sights on the DC Universe and the man who broke the Bat.
The wrestler-turned actor has vehemently approached Warners Media to portray one of The Dark Knight’s most formidable foes: Bane. No stranger to heel turns from his years with the WWE, Bautista is popularly known as the Marvel superhero Drax The Destroyer in The Guardians of The Galaxy films for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians director James Gunn is already involved with the DCEU directing The Suicide Squad.
Dave Bautista – Why Is He After Bane, and Who Else Has Played Him Onscreen?
A longtime fan of the character, Dave strongly believes that he’s the only actor who can portray Bane in a way that is faithful to the source material. “I’ve made no secret about this. [I] want to play Bane so bad I went to Warner Bros. [, walked in] the door and said ‘I want to play Bane.’ I’m not kidding. They were a little like ‘Whoa, we’re not even casting Bane.’ I was like ‘I don’t care. I’m playing him.”
Created in the 90s by the late Denny O’Neill and Chuck Dixon, Bane rose to prominence in the Knightfall storyline. To an opponent like Batman, Bane was a dark reflection. Bane was a self-educated man who was born and raised in a South American prison, serving his father’s sentence. He then gained the physical edge through an experimental, addictive steroid called Venom. A criminal mastermind and powerhouse, Bane escaped with fellow inmates into mercenary life. With his forces, he set his sights on Gotham City to specifically destroy Batman. Bane not only deduced Batman’s secret identity, but exhausted him through a mass-breakout at Arkham Asylum he had orchestrated. Bane broke into Wayne Manor and broke Batman’s spine on the floors of the Batcave. Bruce Wayne would recover, but Bane had left his mark on both the Batman legacy and the fans. As Alfred had said, Bane was the first opponent Bruce had faced and squarely lost.
If Bautista gets the role, he will be the fourth actor to portray the villain. Although he has had countless appearances across multiple platforms, Bane has had only two live-action performances on the big screen. Former wrestler Jeep Swenson portrayed Bane in the much-panned Batman and Robin in 1996. Although he had the physical attributes, that version of Bane was near-mindless and just the muscle for Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy, both transformed by Venom differently. Swenson would later die of a heart attack due to the steroids he used to get in shape for the role. A more grounded approach to the character was played by Tom Hardy in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises in 2011. Like in “Knightfall”, Bane and his terrorist forces descended upon Gotham and crippled Batman, but the plot deviated heavily from the source material to conform to Nolan’s vision for this version of Batman. The character’s backstory excluded Venom as the reason for his strength and resilience. Rather, his high-tech mask dulled excruciating pain from a previous attack years prior. He had been also trained by Bruce Wayne’s mentor, Ra’s Al Ghul, and had been excommunicated from the League of Shadows. However, again, Bane was revealed to not be the true mastermind of Gotham’s destruction, but a lieutenant for Talia al Ghul. Hardy trained rigorously to gain a circus strongman’s physique as opposed to a full bodybuilder. Shane West then appeared as Bane for the Fox Batman prequel TV series, Gotham. Again the character was revamped to fit that reality as James Gordon’s former fellow soldier gone rogue Eduardo Dorrance. Through the course of his brief arc, Eduardo is mortally wounded and given both the mask and Venom to survive and be reborn as Bane. As a nod to Bruce’s inevitable fate, Bane would go on to cripple Alfred instead. For this role, however, West was fitted with a special oversized suit and not required to physically train for the role.
Before Warners Media even considers a project both involving Dave and the character of Bane, Bautista has a lot on his plate. Not only is he returning as Drax in Thor: Love and Thunder, but he’s also in the upcoming Zack Snyder film Army of The Dead debuting May 21 on Netflix.
More as it develops.