James Bond’s heroism has always existed in inverse proportion to the villainy facing him. And over the last half-century, there have been some mighty big villains attempting to put the hurt on Her Majesty’s most famous double-0 agent.
Among them: the razor-rimmed bowler hat throwing butler Odd Job (Goldfinger), steel-toothed strongman Jaws (in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker), and larger-than-life little man Nick Nack (from The Man With the Golden Gun).
In Spectre (out Nov. 6), WWE wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista portrays one of the super spy’s most formidable adversaries yet: Hinx, a fast-driving, battle-hardened hit-man for the secretive terrorist cartel SPECTRE. He smashes 007 through walls during the film’s infamous train fight sequence and pursues him through Rome’s empty streets in a futuristic-looking Jaguar concept car. Moreover, Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) was simulating a fight with Bond star Daniel Craig when the British actor’s knee gave out, forcing a two-week halt in production on Spectre.
For his part, the 6-foot-5, muscle-bound Bautista has been reluctant to commit to strong, silent-type roles, lest he get typecast by Hollywood. But the actor opened up to EW about his willingness to portray a “henchman” for perhaps the only time in his career in Spectre.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re wearing a nice suit in this film. That must be a change of pace from most of your other movies.
DAVE BAUTISTA: I really fought hard to not get typecast as your big, dumb muscle-head. We turn down a lot of stuff. We’re very picky and choosy, which means not working very much. But we really fought hard because we didn’t want to get typecast as that guy. Because that guy is easy to play.
That was my concern because I didn’t actually know much about the character when I was asked to audition for the part. I auditioned for someone who was not Hinx. I reenacted a scene from another Bond film. It was a video audition. I had to recreate a scene from Casino Royale. A month went by, met [director Sam Mendes].
What were your concerns?
First time we talked about the character. Only two questions I asked him. He told me Hinx was a member of this organization SPECTRE. I was really apprehensive that he was just going to be someone’s right-hand man, standing there, opening doors. So I said, “Is Mr. Hinx a badass?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Is Mr. Hinx intelligent?” He said, “Oh yes.” Those were the two things I needed answered. But I wasn’t expecting the elegant wardrobe, the very manicured look. He was going to let me portray him as very carefree — not a care in the world. Because nobody’s more badass than him! [Laughs] He’s not insecure about anything because he’s the man!
He’s not just somebody’s lackey.
When I watch movies, when I see people who portray these evil characters — what makes it ridiculous to me is when they try to portray evil characters. They’re trying to be intimidating and making scary faces and [assumes deep, tough-guy voice] TALKING LIKE THIS! It’s silly to me. But people who play sinister characters like Hannibal Lecter are very deadpan. Methodical in the way they deliver lines. Matter of fact.
They’re the heroes of their own lives. They don’t see themselves as “the bad guy.”
In Rome, I said, “This is where the hero of the film, Mr. Hinx, is chasing his evil nemesis, James Bond.” It’s all perspective. Hinx in his own mind is not a bad guy. He’s a great guy! That’s the way I wanted to portray the character.
Now, your character fits into a rich tradition of Bond henchmen. How do you feel about that?
For another film, I might not use the word “henchman.” But for Bond, I will proudly. Bond henchmen are iconic. The way Hinx is portrayed is awesome. There’s nothing subservient about him. He’s on a mission. He’s smart. It’s great!