DAVE VESCIO INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Steven Wood
From the military to jail to the big screen, Dave Vescio is quickly becoming one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood despite the hardships due to his background. Dave is embracing his past and overcoming the difficulties all the while quickly becoming more of a household name due to working with the likes of Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and Eddie Griffin. You can next see Dave alongside Eddie Griffin in the new film Going To America, also starring Josh Meyers. Steve got a chance to catch up with Dave.
Steve Wood: Without diving too deep into that part of your life, has your reputation as an "ex-con to actor" helped you in the casting process, or was it a detriment?
Dave Vescio: I'm assuming it's both, because in the real world some people can handle that I'm a real-life ex-con, and some people cannot. But that's okay, they have every right to judge, and I'm fine with that. All I want to do is tell the truth to the world with the knowledge that I have from being a real-life criminal myself to meeting all the different types of criminals that I've personally met at Fort Leavenworth Prison (which was a maximum hard labor prison) or that I've met ever since. My job as an artist is to just tell the truth, because the truth will set you free (meaning the audience as well as myself). So that's all I focus on, and whoever can handle it, can handle it. And whoever cannot handle it, cannot. But either way, I'm telling the truth to the world.
SW: Prior to your military background, was acting an aspiration of yours? And how long did it take for you to get your break when you made the decision to act?
DV: No, not at all. Ever since I was four years old, all I ever wanted to be was G.I. Joe. So at the age of eighteen, I joined a light infantry unit in the U.S. Army. Honestly, I didn't want to be an actor until much later in life. I started to train professionally at the age of 32, and I started film acting at the age of 34, and now I'm 44 years old. So it honestly didn't take me that long to start booking professional film acting work, maybe two years into it. But, at the same time, I only sell what sells; which in the end is just the truth that I know better then my current competition. 50 Cent once said that truth equals money, and I totally agree with him. I mean if actors (shoot, any artist) just focused on sharing their own personal hard earned truths with the world, everything would go much simpler for them audience wise. I just have a feeling that most actors / artists are just too fearful of their own personal truths. So they hide behind these fake masks that they created for themselves, pretending to be something that they are not, hoping to be loved or wanted. But, what they don't know yet is that their own personal truths will set them free. It always has and it always will, and it's one of the oldest sayings in the world for a reason.
SW: You have a lot of IMDb acting credits, what has been your favorite role/movie, or is your favorite role different than your favorite movie?
DV: So far my three favorite roles and movies are the same: Hick starring Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne, Chloe Grace Moretz, & Blake Lively; The Odd Way Home starring Rumer Willis & Chris Marquette; and The Millionaire Tour starring Dominic Monaghan. I love being a dramatic indie film actor, and all three of those movies and performances are very dramatic.
SW: Have you ever been star struck on set? If so, from whom?
DV: Ha, ha, ha, that's funny! Yeah, for sure, but, only three times (so far). When I was doing my stunt scenes in the movie Hick, Blake Lively came on set to watch us work. Well, let's say that at the end of the day, she wanted to personally meet me, so the director Derick Martini introduced the two of us, and let's just say that I got flabbergasted and didn't know what to say to her. By the time I did get the nerve to talk to her, she already left set for her hotel room, and I had to fly back to Los Angeles the very next morning. This happened again with Kate Beckinsale when I performed with her in a TV movie a few years back, and it happened again when I got done performing in a play in New York City and Famke Jannsen came up to me afterwards to give me a huge compliment. I definitely get nervous around beautiful, highly successful actresses; that's for sure. I'm a goofball!
SW: With five acting credits in pre-production, six announced and four being either completed or in post-production, how do you find time to do anything!?
DV: I love to work every single day, and I cannot remember the last time I ever took a day off of work. I even work holidays. I just love to work on my instrument, my craft, and my business (meaning, getting as many people as humanly possible to see my indie films through media and social media). I just love being an indie film actor. Honestly, if I couldn't do this every single day, I rather be dead. And I'm not joking. Indie film acting is the only thing I live for; it's the only thing that gives me meaning in life.
SW: Besides your IMDb credits, do you have any other upcoming roles or prospects?
DV: No, not really. My IMDb page pretty much says what my near future will be like so far. I mean, people always want to hire me, but I'm very strict about what I do and what I don't do. I'm an artist on a mission. I'm very, very picky about what roles I play, and with whom I work with. And I prefer to work with filmmakers who love the film festival circuit and who want to win awards and who want to share the hard truths with the world. Those are my most favorite filmmakers to work with.
SW: You've obviously overcame a huge dilemma, would you kindly give a piece of advice to someone that is going through a similar situation as you once did?
DV: Hmm, that's a tough question to answer because I do believe that everyone here on Earth is here for different reasons, and those different reasons are what creates conflicts between all of us humans. So just know that you can evolve. You can change, adapt, and overcome any situation in life. And you are capable of turning from a caterpillar into a butterfly at any time. Everything can change; it just takes learning new knowledge and then applying that new knowledge to your daily actions. Applied Knowledge is POWER! And the easiest way to learn new knowledge is to read new non-fiction books. I'm constantly reading new non-fiction books every single month. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for the hundreds if not the thousands of books that I've read so far in my life. They all changed me for the better, especially when I started to apply this new found knowledge into my daily actions.
SW: Any general advice to someone rigorously attending casting calls and how to deal with rejection?
DV: Ha, ha, yeah, David Mamet taught me this: You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. If you can do that, you can overcome anything in life. And don't forget that business is just a numbers game. So figure out how many times it takes for you to win a role, meaning count all the auditions that you lost and won, and figure out your winning ratio. Is it one out of hundred, one out of fifty, one out of ten? Well, whatever it happens to be, just know that it will constantly repeat itself over and over and over again between all your wins and losses. So just focus on the numbers. And if you do that, then all those losses are just getting you closer and closer to that win that is just right around the corner for you. Focus on the numbers, always!
SW: Do you have any interest to get back into photojournalism or photography?
DV: No, not at all. I achieved that passion of mine at the highest level that I could personally deal with; which wasn't that bad in the end, if you think about it. Getting to say that I worked for CBS News as a TV photojournalist is an accomplishment that I can easily live with. I just didn't love it like my award-winning mentors did. I wanted to be in front of the camera instead, and to become the best there instead. Indie film acting is my love and playing characters that prey on people and who get physically tortured in the end (because I do my own stunts) is my love. So that's what I focus on. I'm just following my heart and spreading as much truth as I can to the world before I die. That's what I live for, and that's what I'll die for as well.
SW: You've worked with a lot of people, is there anyone you're dying to work with?
DV: Honestly, I love working with any actor who is an accomplished actor. They all have things that they can teach me, acting wise and business wise. But, if I could pick one actor, I would have to say Daniel Day Lewis for sure. I would love to see how he prepares for his characters, and I would definitely love to compete against him on set, and just let his enormous talent push me to be the best that I can possibly be. That's why I love working with Name Actors. They all push me to be the best actor that I can possibly be in that moment in time.
SW: Lastly, you seem to have accepted the villainous role. Do you feel typecast and are you OK with that?
DV: Everyone is typecast in every single industry. Every one of us humans who work for pay only do what we do best. That's why we get paid to do it. Otherwise, our competition would steal our jobs away from us. If you have a heart problem, do you see just any doctor or do you see a heart specialist? When you have problems with your car brakes, do you see just any auto mechanic, or do you see a brake specialist? When your child is having problems with his math homework, do you hire just any tutor or do you hire a match tutor? Humans will always cater to the ones who specialize because the ones who specialize are considered the best of the best at what they do, and why is that? Because they spend every single waking minute of their lives learning how to be better and better at what they do best. And every single professional actor specializes at playing a type. Now, their acting range may be bigger where you don't sense it, but, let me tell you, they all specialize playing the same types of characters over and over and over again. And that's how they sell themselves in their acting reels to the industry every single day as well. In the end, Hollywood only wants to hire the best of the best, because the best of the best makes them money. And business is just a numbers game in the end.
HorrorTalk would like to thank Dave Vescio for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. You can keep up with him by following him on Twitter.
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