C2E2: Dave Bautista and Sean Gunn on Guardians, James Gunn, and sensitive nipples

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Apr 6, 2018

Two of the stars of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise took the stage at this year's C2E2, and it was clear right from the start that the two of them share a close bond. Though Bradley Cooper performs the voice of Rocket Raccoon, it is Sean Gunn who plays him on set, so he and fellow Guardian Dave Bautista (Drax) have spent a lot of long days and nights together, and their chemistry (and mutual respect) is a testament to that.

Gunn not only plays the on-set Rocket— he also plays the Ravager Kraglin. During today's C2E2 panel, he admitted to being "very busy" because of this, and that the days with him playing both characters were "very tricky." Though he's there on set to provide a reference for the VFX, his primary goal is to give the other actors something to play off of, instead of a tennis ball on a stick. Apparently he is very generous in this regard, as Bautista recalled Gunn "pouring his heart out" during the scene at the end of the first Guardians film where Rocket is mourning the death of Groot.

They both name that scene as one of their favorite emotional moments, and Bautista said it was very telling of who Gunn is, because he was giving his all in order to bring emotions out of Bautista. This seems like standard procedure for Gunn, who maintained that acting is "about giving something of yourself." Bautista certainly shares that passion, repeatedly saying that acting was something he is "obsessed" with right now. However, he still refers to himself as an "aspiring" actor, while also noting "the day I'm not aspiring is the day it's over."

Though Bautista has firmly established himself as an actor, it's clear that his background as a professional wrestler is still in the minds of many fans, just like Gunn's past role as the scheme-crazed Kirk in Gilmore Girls. Though they both have their feet planted firmly in their new roles as Guardians (next appearing in Avengers; infinity War), Bautista did say that the only way he'd return to wrestling is if he was given the chance to go up against Triple H, who Bautista says he could probably still bench press... despite Triple H's "butt looking a little large." While Gunn admitted that the notion of Kirk influencing his current roles would be weird.

Credit: Marvel/Disney

Both actors also spoke very highly of Guardians writer/director James Gunn, and not just because he's Sean's brother. Bautista said that he often gauges his performance's success by James' on-set laughter, and that he thinks Gunn writes for Drax "just to amuse himself." One of the more memorable lines from the second Guardians film involved Drax and his sensitive nipples, and Bautista revealed that this was put in the film because James himself suffers from that condition.

The "sensitive nipples" line originally appeared in the first film, and Sean recalled how Bautista didn't want to say it. The line ended up being cut, only to resurface in the sequel (which was able to be tailor-written for the established actors). However, Bautista made it clear during the panel that he himself did not suffer from that condition. With all of the makeup and prosthetics constantly being put on him and then ripped off, he declared, "If I had sensitive nipples, I'd be in real trouble."

Though he was not familiar with the Guardians comics at first, Bautista became hooked on the character when his acting coach put him in research mode. At the time, Bautista said that his agents called it "a long shot," which prompted Sean to cut in and say that it was, and that it was also a testament to "how great he is." Though Sean was convinced by Bautista, he recalled how fans were not thrilled at all by the former wrestler's casting. That anger has certainly subsided, but Bautista said that he was initially calmed by being accepted immediately by the other actors.

Credit: Marvel/Disney

The two of them were not able to share anything from their experiences shooting Infinity War (aside from Bautista being insanely excited to work with Robert Downey Jr.), but they did say that the fact that James Gunn himself wrote a lot of their dialogue helped them feel more at home. The Russo Brothers (directors of Infinity War) did not want their own Guardians—they wanted James Gunn's Guardians, and that made all the difference to Gunn, Bautista, and their fellow cast members.

As far as the now-famous music of the Guardians films is concerned, they both mentioned there is always music on set. The music choices are written into the script, and so the first thing that happens after the script is finished is that the rights to those songs are bought and acquired. Because of this, the actual songs can be played on set, and scenes can be choreographed directly to them. It also helps to bring out the emotion, with Sean saying that they all use earbuds at times to let the music lift them in that way— he specifically references "Father and Son" at the end of Guardians 2, and how it helped Kraglin's salute at Yondu's Ravager Funeral... a scene that certainly seemed to be a favorite of the panel's audience.

When asked about Yondu's Zune (which was gifted to Peter Quill at the end of the film), Sean said that it was likely to open some musical doors for Guardians 3. On the subject of James Gunn's musical choices, Bautista added, "I guarantee he already has the soundtrack."

Marvel, wrestling, and Star's Hollow aside, Bautista was also asked about his experiences working on Blade Runner 2049. According to him, the set for that film could not have been more different from the set of Guardians. It was very quiet, and whereas Chris Pratt is big and loud, Blade Runner star Ryan Gosling "almost whispers when he speaks." Bautista also talked about director Denis Villeneuve not being convinced that the former wrestler was right for the role until he saw a screen test, which was actually shot on the set of the Guardians sequel.

The big takeaway from the panel, though, is that Bautista and Sean's passion for their craft is as palpable as their own chemistry with each other. As Bautista said, he never set out to be a movie star— he just "really wanted to be a good actor."

We'll be able to see more of Dave Bautista and Sean Gunn's craft when Avengers: Infinity War opens on April 26. In the meantime, SYFY WIRE is still streaming all of the action from C2E2 2018, so be sure to check out our livestream schedule right here!

Watch video from the full panel below: