John Cena thinks Dave Bautista is an "unbelievably gifted actor".

The former wrestler turned actor has heaped praised on his friend for all the "amazing" movie work he's done and he understands why Dave once said he didn't want to be "lumped" with all the other actors that have moved from wrestling to the big screen like himself and Dwayne The Rock Johnson.

He said: "I’m super sad about that, because Dave Bautista is an unbelievably gifted actor. He’s done some amazing work. But I think when someone makes a statement like that, I think the important thing is to try and look at things from their perspective. Dave has worked so hard on his craft. And he is so dedicated to his characters. And really wants to put forth a body of work that gives him his own identity. I 100 per cent understand that."

John "applauds" Dave for being so brave and having so much conviction about his own career.

Speaking in Esquire's video series 'Explain This', he added: "He really just wants to be identified and recognised for his work. And I cannot fault him for that. I applaud him for it.

"To be brave enough to say something like that kind of allows him to go forth on his own and I appreciate that."

Dave previously revealed he wants to direct "a small drama".

He said: "That’s kind of been my goal for years. I’m slowly working my way behind the camera. I’m in my 50s man – my time in front of the camera is going to be limited! But I love filmmaking. And I also love storytelling, which is what I loved about wrestling. And so I hope to have a future in this. I want to be able to put stuff on screen and not necessarily blockbuster films. It’s definitely on my bucket list to direct at least one film and it’ll most likely be a small drama. But that’s what I love."