5 rom-com pitches Dave Bautista would be perfect for

He’s most known for his wrestling career, gnarly tatted-up physique, and sci-fi roles. But despite what Dave Bautista himself thinks, Eliza Janssen reckons he has a sweet and cuddly rom-com future ahead.

The grass is always greener on the other side, even for beloved Hollywood celebs. Hell, Timothée Chalamet probably wishes he could bulk up to play a warmongering Guardian of the Galaxy comedic standout, just as much as his Dune co-star Dave Bautista longs for a career with some softer, romantic moments.

It sounds unlikely, but the 54-year-old star recently admitted that he’s never gone for any roles in that squishy, sentimental genre we know and love as the rom(antic)-com(edy). At the New York City premiere of Knock at the Cabin, Bautista revealed to gossip rag Page Six that he knows he’s “not your typical rom-com lead…I’m a little rough around the edges. But I always…look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘am I that unattractive? Is there something that unappealing about me that excludes me from these parts?’”

NO, Dave!! Full-nelson those thoughts of insecurity and slam them into the mat! As a soft-spoken kindergarten teacher forced to deliver a terrible apocalyptic fate to a randomly-chosen family, his character in Knock At The Cabin proves the physically-intimidating actor has depths of warmth and charisma that have yet to be appreciated.

Bautista says he’s never been offered a rom-com, but that he still has “high hopes…I’ll just keep searching”. The search is over, big man: here’s five of my best pitches for rom-coms in which the ex-wrestler could be a swoon-worthy leading man.

1. The lonely single dad

One of Bautista’s earliest cutesy roles was in My Spy, as a CIA operative reluctantly guarding—and of course, gradually bonding with—a precocious nine-year-old. He clearly has great chemistry with kids, as we got to enjoy in Knock At The Cabin, too. Trying to placate his young hostage, he plays a lame kids show on the cabin TV, genially praising the cartoon’s good values with a gentle smile.

Mums across the world will go wild for Bautista as a grieving dad who begrudgingly accepts the help of an overworked soccer mom (Connie Britton?) at his kid’s school. Maybe while carpooling, chaperoning a noisy sleepover, and making fairy bread together, their hands touch: he’s reminded that life, and love, go on after his wife’s passing. D’awww.

2. The badass bouncer

The guy once employed his physical might to bump belligerent partygoers from da club, so Bautista will be right at home hooking up with a cool-as-ice club owner (Charlize, methinks) in a sexy nightlife romance flick. Through their steamy, secret employer-employee relationship, he’ll learn to let loose a lil, maybe even showing us some sick dance-floor moves in a montage set to an original song by The Weeknd or something.

3. The Schwarzennegger Spy situation

Whenever Arnie had to play a Normal Family Man at the height of his 80s and 90s fame, it was always laughable: why would a guy who looks like that live in the suburbs of Connecticut and sell mattresses for a living?! If he can do it in True Lies, so can Bautista, shocking his wife and kids out of domestic autopilot with the reveal that he’s actually a kung-fu fighting, terrorist-smearing superspy. It’s every dad’s midlife-crisis fantasy, and every mum’s Mills & Boon romantic dream.

4. The wrestling redemption story leading man

What better way to chase some awards-season cred and go back to his wrestling-world roots? Bautista could kill it as your typical sports-movie hero, an up-and-comer turned underdog who just needs the moral encouragement (and smooches) of a good woman to win that belt he’s deserved for so long. Maybe a female WWE champ could even join in on Dave’s rise to the top? They’re basically acting while doing bone-crushing stunts, anyways.

5. The Netflix teen rom-com hot teacher

Perhaps the biggest movement in romantic comedies over the last decade has been the overwhelming popularity of Netflix’s teen-centric high school tales of boyfriends, girlfriends and classroom gossip. While it would be completely hilarious to cast Bautista as a 17-year-old, what I’m going for here is a heartstring-plucking supporting role, à la Woody Harrelson in Edge of Seventeen.

He’d play the gruff PE teacher who seems to understand what our hormone-addled teen protagonist is going through…and maybe even gets together with their lonely mum or the school principal or something. It’s his rousing half-time speech at the Big Game that pulls the whole movie together: he’s not like a regular teacher, he’s a cool teacher. With fricking massive shoulders and a Winnie The Pooh tattoo. Call us, Hollywood.