An actor with a Filipino heritage is leading a group of mysterious strangers in visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan‘s upcoming horror film “Knock at the Cabin” based on a national bestseller.
Wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista is playing the role of Leonard, one of the four armed strangers who takes a vacationing family hostage at a remote cabin in the woods.
Despite having American citizenship, the wrestler has a Filipino grandfather named Alfonso Bautista who immigrated to America by fighting for the US in the Second World War.
Dave carries this Pinoy heritage by sporting Filipino-inspired tattoos on his body.
His left arm features the waving flags of the Philippines, while his left elbow features the three yellow stars and sun of the Philippine flag. The sun, meanwhile, appears on his chest.
“I really embraced it when I was older, when I got to visit the Philippines and Greece. It was kind of a homecoming feeling, especially when I went to the Philippines for the first time,” he told GQ magazine before.
Dave initially visited the Southeast Asian country in 2007 as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment’s SmackDown Philippine Tour.
“I’m only half-Filipino from the United States, but they embraced me like I was 100% Filipino [like] I was born and raised there. That experience is never going to make me feel anything less in my life. It’s just a dream. It’s so surreal to go to a country and have them treat you like you’re the prodigal son,” he said.
The actor’s latest project is Shyamalan’s upcoming horror flick in which a family is forced to give up a life because of an apocalypse prophecy.
The movie centers on a gay couple, Eric and Andrew, and their adopted daughter Wen, who are all taken hostage by Leonard and three other strangers — Sabrina, Adrianne and Redmond.
Haunted by a prophecy, Leonard and the rest of the strangers demand that the family choose one of their members to die to save the world from ending.
The movie also stars “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, newcomer Kristin Cui, Abby Quinn and Nikki Amuka-Bird.
According to Dave, his role in “Knock at the Cabin” is an opportunity of a lifetime.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for because roles like this don’t get offered to me. Typically, everybody wants me for action stuff, and I understand why they want to put me in that box. But I’ve been fighting to get out of that box. I wanted deeper roles because I want to prove myself as an actor,” he said.
Shyamalan shared that Dave’s role is complex and layered.
“Leonard is like a giant who’s physically intimidating and has to do these horrific things, but is actually incredibly gentle, like a teacher,” he said.
“And Dave is this character. He is this childlike giant. He’s very smart and is incredibly analytical about human nature — almost like a child. He can panic in a way, like a child, in the most beautiful way. And I wanted all of that on screen,” the filmmaker added.
“Knock at the Cabin” will be distributed by Universal Pictures in local cinemas starting February 1.
— Video from Universal Pictures Philippines via YouTube