Dave Bautista, one of the loudest critics of Disney's firing of director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, is looking back the scandal -- and the rehiring of his friend.
ET's Ashley Crossan recently sat down with the 50-year-old actor at the Los Angeles press day for the upcoming action-comedy Stuber, where Bautista shared his thoughts on the controversy and set the record straight on his apparent threat to opt out of playing the lovable Drax in any more Marvel films should they not bring back Gunn.
"No, it wasn't that I was going to jump ship and do Suicide Squad. I was more at the point where I was like, 'Fire me. I don't care. You're going to hear what I have to say.' And this is the way I feel and I think you made a bad call and I don't care if you fire me because I feel this way. This is me being honest and me sticking up for my friend who was wronged,'" he clarified of his response to the scandal. "So that was it. It wasn't about me -- I'm not threatening to go do Suicide Squad, but I was just saying, 'If things aren't here, I'm just going to leave. I don't want to be a part of this.'"
Last July, Gunn was fired from GOTG3 when a number of controversial jokes from his past resurfaced. He apologized soon after and, by the fall, had been tapped to write the next Suicide Squad film for Warner Bros., which prompted Bautista to openly lobby for a role in the film. Then, in March, Gunn was hired back on as the writer and director of the next Guardians film.
"I feel great!" Bautista told ET of his reaction to seeing Gunn reinstated on the movie. "They admit that they just made a wrong decision. For a huge juggernaut of a corporation like Disney to say, 'We made a mistake and we're going to make this wrong a right.' I mean, that says something, you know? If they can do that, if they can change their minds and say they made a mistake, then anybody can. And sometimes it's never too late to say you were wrong."
In Stuber, Bautista plays a hard-nosed cop who finds himself needing the assistance of a sheepish Uber driver (Kumail Nanjiani) as he attempts to track down a killer. While Nanjiani is rumored to be joining the MCU in The Eternals -- "I love Marvel. It would be a dream to be in one of those movies," he coyly told ET -- Bautista's Guardians co-star, Karen Gillan, also appears in the film.
"It was so great [to work with her again] because I love her. She's like, one of my favorite people," he gushed. "We were on a press junket here for Avengers: Infinity War when I found out that she was going to be my partner in Stuber."
"We were crossing each other in the elevator ...and she said 'Hey! I'm doing a movie with you next month' and I said 'Which one?' she said Stuber and I said 'no way!'" he relayed. "But it was really great to just be there and be out of makeup and just be able to be ourselves… Karen, she's just such a sweet person."
Stuber arrives in theaters on July 12. See what Zoe Saldana told ET about Gunn rejoining Guardians in the video below.