Dave Bautista's Incredible Drax Transformation
- Published: 08 October 2019
- Retired pro wrestler Dave Bautista's body has always been his instrument, but just how do the special-effect magicians of Marvel transform a titan of the ring into an extraterrestrial soldier of fortune? The answer involves a lot more dental fakery, time in the sauna, and prosthetic sheeting than you might guess.
Any artist will tell you that practice is key to mastery. But if the artist's canvas is a person who has to eat, sleep, and live life outside the makeup chair, the best way to practice is to make a model and go to town on it. That goes for Bautista's transformation into Drax, which begins with a model of his body, which includes his head, face, arms, and torso down to his hips.
From this, the makeup team creates a clear plastic mold with holes to indicate where Drax's many tattoos and scars must be placed. The plastic mold is placed on Bautista at the start of his makeup session, and a type of rice-paper-based special effects makeup known as "skin Illustrator" is airbrushed through the holes. The result is a map of where Drax's tattoos should be placed with an impressive level of precision, allowing the artists to access a portable, easily replicated starting point. This level of precision is essential to maintain continuity with a visually complex character like Drax.
You may think it's easy to remember what color Drax is, but it's honestly pretty complicated. Compare how he looks in the sterile light of a spaceship to the warmer sunlight of Ego's home in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As it turns out, his hard-to-pin-down coloration is very much by design. Keep watching the video to see Dave Bautista's incredible Drax transformation!
Making a mold | 0:17
The proper tone | 1:17
Time for tattoos | 2:01
The masterpiece is sealed | 2:51
Improper dental hygiene | 3:34
A piercing gaze | 4:15
Taking it all off | 4:51
A faster process | 5:46