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Dave Bautista reflects on filming *that* Leonard scene in Shyamalan's 'Knock at the Cabin'
You know exactly the scene we're talking about ...
We need to talk about Knock at the Cabin. Now that director M. Night Shymalan's apocalyptic home invasion mystery-thriller is finally out in theaters the world over, it's open season for spoiler-based discussions.
Adapted from the award-winning Paul Tremblay novel — The Cabin at the End of the World — the new film is the director's most claustrophobic vision to date, almost exclusively taking place in and around a remote cabin in the middle of the Pennsylvania wilderness.
Said cabin is occupied by a vacationing family of three: Eric (Frozen's Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Pennyworth's Ben Aldridge), and their eight-year-old daughter Wen (newcomer Kristen Cui). The peaceful nature of their summer retreat collapses unexpectedly when four strangers break into the house with tidings of the apocalypse. If Eric and Andrew don't choose to sacrifice a member of their family, then humanity will cease to exist. Are the home invaders crazy or are their alleged psychic visions of the end times genuine? That is the question!
Of course, if you haven't seen the movie yet, we suggest bookmarking this article for later, because we're about to dive headfirst into one of the final scenes — and a crucial one at that. If that warning didn't give you pause, then here's a bigger one that's impossible to miss ...
***WARNING! The following contains major spoilers for the end of the film!***
Still here? Ok, don't say we didn't warn ya! Sitting down with Variety, Dave Bautista, who plays the role of Leonard (the hulking leader of the apocalyptic zealots) takes his own life near the very end of the runtime. With his three compatriots — Redmond (Rupert Grint), Adriene (Abby Quinn), and Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) now dead, the imposing schoolteacher becomes the final ritualistic sacrifice capable of staving off the end times for a little while longer.
After he's gone, however, Eric and Andrew will only have mere moments to choose whether or not to choose their family or the decimation of humanity. Leonard then brings a knife to his throat and slits the jugular without any hesitation. It's a gruesome and harrowing moment in the finished product, but according to Bautista, the day on which they shot it was anything but somber.
"We’re sitting out and the weather was nice, and I’m not in a somber mood,” the actor remembered. “I don’t feel like dying today, but this is my opportunity to die. Because it was so sunny and we were waiting for just a slight bit of overcast, we waited for a long time. There was one day when we waited and waited and it never came, so we had to come back to the scene. But by the time we came back, I just didn’t feel like dying that day."
The Guardians of the Galaxy alum has received a great deal of acclaim for his performance in Knock at the Cabin, with many critics hailing the character of Leonard as Bautista's greatest screen presence to date. It's all going to plan for the wrestler-turned-actor, who hoped that this project (more than any other) would show he has what it takes to be a dramatic thespian.
“I take some pride in what I do because I’m always searching for roles that will challenge me as an actor," he continued. "I’ve got my year slated and I know what it’s going to look like, but I’m just looking for that next role that’s going to give me the same type of fulfillment as this. This fulfilled a lot of my wishes and dreams and what I’ve been asking for the last 10 years. I’m hoping this will win me a little bit of a respect factor amongst my peers because at the end of the day, it’s kind of what I’m after. I really want to be respected by my peers.”
Knock at the Cabin is now playing in theaters everywhere. Click here to purchase tickets.
Looking for more horror to make your spine tingle and blood curdle? You can currently catch Jordan Peele's NOPE on Peacock. Plus, don't miss SYFY's hit horror series Chucky, which was just picked up for a third season.