While reflecting on his decision to turn down Gunn, Batista admitted that the opportunity to play the lead role in Snyder’s new film was too difficult to pass up.
“James Gunn wrote a role for me in The Suicide Squad, which I was all fired up about, not only because he was making a huge comeback,” Batista said. “He’s come back with The Suicide Squad and was rehired by Marvel, and has really been vindicated as far as that whole thing went.
“I was all up for it, and then I got Army of the Dead, which was not only a lead role for me, but also I really wanted to work with Zack Snyder. I’ve been wanting to work with him for years.”
Batista added that he also wanted to “build a relationship with Netflix” and let them know that he’s “worth their time.”
“I had The Suicide Squad where I got to work with my boy again, even though it’s a smaller role, and then I had Army of the Dead on which I get to work with Zack, I get to build a relationship with Netflix, I get a lead role in a great film – and I get paid a lot more money.
“I had to call James, and I told him, ‘It breaks my heart, because as a friend, I want to be there with you, but professionally, this is the smart decision for me.’
“He said, ‘I completely get it. I’m proud of you that you’re even in this position. I’m proud that I had something to do with you being in this position where you have to make these hard decisions.’”
Army of the Dead starring Batista is out in select theaters on May 14 and on Netflix May 21.