Nearly two decades after Dawn of the Dead, Zack Snyder makes a super-sized return to the horror genre with Netflix's Army of the Dead — a heist movie that plays out against the backdrop of a zombie-infested Las Vegas. And for this Ocean's Eleven-meets-The Walking Dead romp, the director assembled the most diverse cast of his career, headed up by wrestler-turned-movie star, Dave Bautista. Born in Washington D.C., Bautista is half-Filipino, and even has the Philippines flag tattooed on his shoulder. "I'm very proud of my heritage," he tells Yahoo Entertainment about being an Asian American action hero. "I'm very vocal about it."
ETHAN ALTER: You've gone from being a teammate in "Guardians of the Galaxy" to being the team leader in "Army of the Dead." Did you enjoy being in charge this time?
DAVE BAUTISTA: You know, I did have somewhat, you know, of a weight on my shoulder, because I wanted to be the lead. I was looking forward to it, it was something I chased after. So I put the pressure on myself. But I never felt that, like, on set, and I also never felt like, you know, I was the center of attention, or I was the focal point, because, like, every character, and they're great characters, they get their moment to shine.
The cast itself was not only so diverse, but so international. And we were also, like, so fortunate enough that we could all come together and have such great chemistry. I'm, like, super proud of this film, it's just so fun.
ETHAN ALTER: I wonder what it meant for you to be an Asian-American leading man at a time when we're seeing rising prejudice and violence against the community.
DAVE BAUTISTA: I'm very proud of my heritage. I'm very vocal about it. I don't get prejudice. I don't get bigotry. I just wasn't raised with it. It's so foreign to me why people are hateful over such superficial things. So yeah, if I can be an inspiration for somebody, then I want to be that guy.
ETHAN ALTER: I know you're vocal on Twitter about Trump, and people like that. But if you feel like we're pushing back against that now and seeing that change.
DAVE BAUTISTA: Yeah. And I think-- you know, it's a weird thing, man, I think there's more people pushing back then there are people that just want to be stuck in the past. People that are hateful, the people that express bigotry, they're just loud and they're aggressive. People who just want to, you know, peace and love and harmony and all good together, we're just not. We just want to shy away from that. Because there's more of us just starting to be, like, we're just not going to let you be louder than us anymore, and you're going to realize that there's more of us than there are of you.
ETHAN ALTER: Well said, sir, I love that.
DAVE BAUTISTA: Thank you for bringing that up. That makes me-- you're going to get me emotional now. I have a whole new sense of pride of this role.