Filming Knock At The Cabin Had Dave Bautista In A Constant State Of Doubt

While Dave Bautista may have started his career as a pro wrestler, he has since distinguished himself as an actor, to the point where he is now probably more associated with his films than his feats of athletic theater. Besides his role as Drax the Destroyer in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies and the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bautista has spent the last few years honing his craft. He's worked with acclaimed directors in Denis Villeneuve, Rian Johnson, and Sam Mendes, who've given him supporting roles in the likes of sci-fi epics "Dune" and "Blade Runner 2049," the mystery whodunnit "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," and the James Bond film "Spectre."

Alongside, Bautista has slowly built a leading-man portfolio for himself, with action thrillers such as "Bushwick," "Final Score," and Zack Snyder's "Army of the Dead." With his latest film, however, the 54-year-old takes on something different. Bautista is — once again — out in front for M. Night Shyamalan's psychological horror "Knock at the Cabin," where he plays a buttoned-up, bespectacled leader of a group of home (or cabin) invaders who take a girl and her family hostage and demand, per the official synopsis, that they "make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse."

It's a typical Shyamalan scenario where characters have "limited access to the outside world," which means it will showcase the actors more. But that also puts pressure on them since so much of the film rests on their performances in this isolated setting. That was especially challenging for Bautista, who was in a state of constant doubt while he was filming it.

'I will always be my own worst critic'

Rather than remain in the action-movie arena, Dave Bautista has made an effort to take on roles that would show off his dramatic chops. Speaking to Insider, he discussed how this came to a head for him during the production of "Knock at the Cabin" and how he'll always be his own worst critic:

"There was not one moment on this film where I felt confident; I doubted myself the whole time. Even when I screened this film for the first time a few weeks ago, I cringed. I told [M. Night Shyamalan] throughout the shooting, and the editing, that I have so much anxiety about this film and how people are going to receive me. Not the film, me. My performance. Because it's just a different light on me and, again, this is where I have to back up what I say, which all along has been that I just want to be an actor. Strip away my physicality, forget that. Judge me on my acting. And it's about to happen. [Laughs.] So the anxiety is real."

For what it's worth, early reviews are full of praise for Bautista's work in "Knock at the Cabin." /Film's Chris Evangelista lauded him for "pushing himself" and "playing against type." Inverse's Hoai-Tran Bui says the former wrestler gives a "career-best performance." And he's been lauded by others for "showing his range" and "digging deeper into the timid sincerity and striking naivete."

Bautista seems to have accomplished what he set out to do with "Knock at the Cabin." "Here was my opportunity to be in the spot, and I feel good about it," he told Looper. "Because if nothing else, I proved my point, which was that I never set out to be a movie star, I wanted to be a respected actor."