Fresh off his retirement from the WWE, Dave Bautista is attached to star in the action-thriller Killer’s Game for STXfilms, Collider has exclusively learned.
DJ Caruso (Disturbia) will direct the film, which is based on the book The Killer’s Game by Jay Bonansinga. Endurance Media’s Steve Richards will produce with Andrew Lazar of Mad Chance.
Killer’s Game follows a veteran hitman named Joe Flood who is informed by his doctor that he has only a few months to live, so he puts out an open contract on his own life, only to discover that the lab made a mistake and he’s actually in perfect health — forcing him to battle an army of assassins out to kill him.
Bautista and STX’s Adam Fogelson took the stage at CinemaCon last week to debut the trailer for My Spy, and during the charming presentation, Fogelson mentioned that the company would soon re-team with Bautista on another project. This one just happens to be one of Hollywood’s longest-gestating projects, having been in the works in some way or another since the book’s publication in 1997.
Numerous stars have come and gone over the years, from Michael Keaton and Wesley Snipes to, most recently, Jason Statham, who was reported to be in negotiations for the lead back in February 2018. Multiple studios have developed the project over the past two decades, to no avail, yet its staying power is a testament to the strength of the source material and its potential as the basis for a memorable action movie.
Bautista has genuinely surprised me with his versatility over the past few years, from his lovable turn as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, to Blade Runner 2049, and even Hotel Artemis. There’s a certain sensitivity to his performances that makes for a great contrast to his massive physique. He’s also one of the hardest working men in showbiz these days along with fellow movie stars — yes, I said it — Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. As Seth Rogen‘s character says in the hilarious upcoming comedy Long Shot (without spoiling the joke), there’s a big difference between being the star of a movie, and being a movie star, and Bautista is definitely becoming the latter. Studios are banking on this guy drawing a crowd, whether it’s STX between My Spy and, now, Killer’s Game, or Netflix and Zack Snyder with Army of the Dead. He can also star in an above-average VOD movie like Final Score and stand out among the non/limited theatrical crowd.
I haven’t even mentioned that he’ll be in mega-movies like Avengers: Endgame and Dune, or that he’s fully expected to return for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now that James Gunn has been reinstated as its director. Gunn also wants him to star in the Suicide Squad sequel. Honestly, I don’t know where he finds the time!
In addition to My Spy, which just debuted its trailer online, Bautista will next star opposite Kumail Nanjiani in the action-comedy Stuber, which hits theaters this July and looks awesome. He’s represented by CAA and Meisner Entertainment Group, and STX had no comment.