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James Gunn Had To Fight To Get This Actor Hired For Guardians Of The Galaxy

It's hard to imagine there was ever a time when Guardians of the Galaxy was considered a weird gamble for Marvel Studios. These days, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is playing I Love Lucy with the body of a dead Vision (Paul Bettany), and people regularly refer to half of the universe disappearing as "the Blip." Compared to all that, having a talking raccoon who's best friends with a sentient tree seems downright normal. Still, even Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt, thought the interplanetary team-up film was doomed to fail, and it was such a massive success that now he's going to be in a Thor movie

Not a lot of people had faith that Guardians of the Galaxy could stand up to more straightforward heroes like Captain America and Iron Man, but never underestimate the sensibilities of filmmaker James Gunn. Despite only having experience directing smaller projects like Slither and Super (the latter of which was the hardest film he ever had to make), Marvel took a chance and let him take the reins with seemingly minimal oversight. That doesn't mean the studio didn't have any suggestions, but Gunn stuck to his... well, guns to make sure the film was as good as humanly possible. That meant fighting vigorously so that one particular actor could get into the cast. 

James Gunn says the studio fought him over casting Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer

James Gunn doesn't mind interacting directly with his fans online, and he recently took time out of his day to answer some questions over Twitter. One such inquiry came from @comedianpreach, who asked, "What's a decision you had to fight tooth and nail for on a movie? Like looking back you still wonder why did the studio fight so hard against it?" Gunn responded, "I'd say hiring @DaveBautista on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1. The first thing Kevin Feige told me after seeing the first cut is how right I was about him."

It's not the first time the Marvel Studios brass had a problem with a director's vision for who should portray a given character. Jon Favreau famously had to fight to get Robert Downey Jr. into the role of Iron Man, getting shot down multiple times before executives finally came around to the idea. The rest is cinematic history, and just like it's impossible to think of anyone else who could embody Tony Stark as well as Downey Jr., it's hard to picture a different actor as Drax the Destroyer

Fans seem to agree, and further down the Twitter thread below Gunn's response, a lot of people chimed in to voice their appreciation for Gunn knowing exactly what his film needed. @BrianLynch commented, "I love that you had to fight for it, and you DID fight for it, and then he gave such a perfect, iconic performance." @TheTrueHman went on to say, "Truly one of the best performances in the MCU. It made him an even bigger star and showed off his comedy chops."

With Bautista reprising the role for Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it's safe to say he's thankful Gunn fought for him, too.