My Mr Nice Guy || An interview with Dave Vescio

Dave Vescio

Dave Vescio is a nice guy, and that is probably the strangest way to introduce an interview. But let me explain why I have dubbed him “Mr Nice Guy”.

August 2015 was not a good month for me. For a start, my aunt who battled cancer for 13 years finally lost the fight and passed away. At the beginning of the July, she took a turn for the worse. We spent a lot of time running about and visiting the hospital. After the first week of August, she finally departed this world. I still had a wedding to finish planning in between helping with funeral arrangements. Then there was the wedding. It was a good day in the sense that I married the man of my dreams. But it sucked because, well, family, and that’s all I’m saying. But why am I telling you this? It’s an explanation and an introduction. I still had work to do and that included this interview with Dave Vescio. I will admit, I did not bring my A game for this interview because my head was stuck up my behind. But here is the thing, Dave did not care. He corrected any mistakes that I had made sourcing my information, without being horrible. He was kind and polite, and not once did he complain about how long my “creative process” had taken. Dave is a dark horse with a heart of gold, and if I’m completely honest, if he had not been such a nice guy when he was talking to me, I would have crawled into a hole and never come out again.

Dave Vescio is an American actor, best known for his roles in ‘Hick’, House of Flesh Mannequins’ and ‘Lost Souls’. On top of all this, he’s also an ex-con, a military man, and an all round nice guy. I hope you find his story as fascinating as I did.

1) When you were younger your father was in the army and you moved about a lot. How did you find the experience of moving so much as a child?

Ha, ha, it sucked.  I hated it.  I moved twelve times by the time I was 18.  I also went to three different elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools.  And I lived in seven different states.  But, you know what.  It was the best thing that ever happened to me!  It taught me so much about all the different cultures that exist in the United States, and it made me fearless from trying anything new in life.  After I left home at 18, I spent a life traveling to new places, from living in five new states, to traveling to three different continents (either to climb mountains, bodyboard big steep waves, or walk my own red carpet events), and I also climbed as high as I can in four different career paths as well: from combat infantry to culinary/pastry arts, to TV photojournalism, and to now being a film actor.  So, trust me, I would have never been able to do any of this, if I never got moved around all that time as a child.  It was truly the best thing that ever happened to me!

2) When you turned 18 years old, you went straight to the army. Do you ever regret that decision?

No, not at all.  Ever since I was four years old, all I ever wanted to be was G.I. Joe.  So, I spent a childhood preparing myself for that profession.  I learned how to shoot, hunt, climb mountains, wilderness survival, first aid / CPR, orienteer, camp in cold weather, to etc.  And I wouldn’t be the actor I am today if it wasn’t for my years being a combat infantry soldier as well.  I learned self-discipline, and I also learned that the body can be pushed so far mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and it just won’t break.  Plus, the U.S. Army also taught me that failure is just NOT an option and that ANYTHING is possible in life.  Do or die.  So, I’m very grateful to the United States Army.  They prepared me *to be the best that I can be*.

Dave Vescio

3) You went from being in the army to drug dealing, which could be considered a completely different career change. What happened that you ended up into drugs?

Ha, ha, that’s funny.  And yes, it’s definitely a career change, ha, ha.  Maybe we should add that to my list of careers in the first question that you asked me, ha, ha.
Hmm, well, a lot of things brought me into the drug world.  First off, I was always told that drugs are wrong and that you shouldn’t do them because you’ll become addicted to them. So, ever since I was fourteen years old, I always watched my friends do illegal drugs, and then I saw it again in the Army as well.  And at the age of 21, I realized that you know what, what happens if I was taught was wrong!?  These adults who told me it was wrong to do drugs, never did drugs, so, honestly, what do they know about the experience of doing drugs!?  So, I tried a few (mostly LSD & marijuana) in my early 20s, and you know what, they were wrong, dead wrong.  These drugs didn’t make me a drug addict.  And I definitely didn’t get addicted to them at all (versus I’m totally addicted to caffeine and another legal drug called alcohol).  So, by doing these hallucinogenic drugs, I actually explored new worlds.  And honestly, I wouldn’t be an artist if it wasn’t for LSD.  Before I ever tried LSD, I didn’t get art at all.  I thought it was just paint on a canvas.  Until I did LSD one night in Waikiki, and I looked up at a skyscraper in the horizon of Honolulu, and that’s when it hit me, I finally understood the meaning of art, and ever since then, I wanted to be a professional artist.
As for the drug dealing part, well, that’s me being addicted to power, and wanting to be the best at something.  I literally wanted to take over the LSD drug market in Hawaii; I wanted to be the king of that world.

4) You are very open when you talk about your past. Everything that you have been through, do you feel that it has made you a better person?

I don’t know about that.  I’m not a fan of the word *better person*.  I am who I am.  You can either take it or leave it.  And honestly, I can care less if people hate me or fear me.  I just want to be me.  And I know that the only way that I can truly be me is by telling my truths to the world.  And one of the oldest quotes on the planet is: The truth will set you free.  And that quote is right, I have more freedom in my life than ever before because I get to be me, and I get to work with or be friends with people who truly get me as well.  Honestly, the power that I was seeking for in my youth was just actually got found as “telling the truth” to people.  Those truths will give you the greatest power of all, and it’s called freedom.

5) After your time as a drug dealer and time in prison, you went on to be a photojournalist for CNN. What was the most amazing moment that you ever caught on film?

It was actually CBS News.  And my most amazing moment that I ever caught on film was actually two different stories: The first story was a story that I did when I was a student at Virginia Tech (I actually won a Society of Professional Journalism award for that story).  It was a story about a young boy who already had multiple heart surgeries and the doctor told us that he would never reach the age of ten and the way the mother dreamt of seeing her son get married one day or graduate from college was just heartbreaking to watch.  And the second story was when I worked for CBS News: I was the only one brave enough to drive up into a raging forest fire in the Smokey Mountains, and I discovered that there were prison inmates up there helping the firefighters fight this blazing fire.  That was a fucking cool story to cover on my own & to be up there on that mountaintop with these brave inmates/firefighters, and watch them all try to put out this out of control fire with shovels, axes, chainsaws, and the little bit of water that they actually could bring in.  Amazing!

Dave Vescio

6) You always seem to play the villain in the movies, does it ever get boring doing the same thing? Do you want to change things and play the hero in a movie?

Boring!?  Hell no.  I am a real life villain, I went to a maximum hard labor federal prison called Fort Leavenworth for being a middleman in a drug cartel, and I actually did time with the worst of the worst people on the planet.  And I get the privilege to bring these actual truths of these character types to the big screen as well as to the small screen.  And I get to live a dream that most would people on this planet love to live, and I get to make a living at it as well.  So, no, I never get bored of being the villain of a story.  I love it too much to ever get bored of it.
And no, I don’t ever want to be the hero in a movie.  I actually find hero characters quit boring.  Maybe I’ll do an anti-hero role, but, never a hero role.  Hero roles are too morally right for me; just boring.

7) Work is work as they say, and a lot of actors have taken jobs that they aren’t happy about because it goes against everything they believe in. If someone came up to you and said, “Dave, here is a movie role that will win you every award you have ever dreamt of”, but it goes everything that you stand for as a person and an actor, would you do it?

No.  That’s why I don’t do national commercials, theater, or even TV series work anymore.  I love being an indie film actor because we get to talk about the truths that the Studios, the Networks, and the Cable TV stations all tend to shy away from; and I truly love being the villain in these films as well.  I just love sharing these hard truths of the world of what it’s actually like being a real life villain that preys on women, children, & the weak.  But, I also see myself as a controversial/provocative artist; versus I think most actors just see themselves as entertainers.  That’s just not my cup of tea.  Not why I’m here on Earth.

8) When you look at your life now, do you feel like you are living the American Dream?

Ha, ha, I think I’m living the Global Dream.  Hollywood movies today are made all around the world, and we tend to hire foreign actors and crew members for most of these films.  So, I think the whole idea of the American Dream is slowly going away since we live in a global market these days.  And honestly, it should.  Visual storytelling is a global thing, not just an American thing.

9) You have a lot of new movies coming out soon. What has been the best experience you have had on the set so far?

My best experience on set was my cult film HICK starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Blake Lively, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Anson Mount, & Rory Culkin.  It was directed by Derick Martini who was the prodigy of Martin Scorcese, and it was written by Andrea Portes (who also wrote the book HICK that was critically acclaimed).  That was truly my best experience on set so far!  But, don’t get me wrong, I loved working on THE ODD WAY HOME starring Rumer Willis & Chris Marquette, and I definitely loved working opposite of Kate Beckinsale & Nick Nolte in a film where my scenes were cut out of it.  I just love working with the best of the best in this business; they ALL teach me how to be the best actor that I can be.

10) Apart from the new movies, what else have you planned for the future?

Honestly, I haven’t planned anything else.  I’m an indie film actor to the T; this is what I love most in life.  Shoot, if I couldn’t do this I rather be dead, so, this is it.  I create controversial/provocative roles, and then I promote the hell out of them to the world.  I do this every single day of my life (even holidays), from working on my craft/instrument to promoting my indie films with social media, and doing as many media interviews as I possibly can.
Now, with that said, definitely check out my upcoming movie GOING TO AMERICA starring Eddie Griffin, Josh Meyers, Najarra Townsend, Mindy Robinson, and Penny Marshall.  It comes out in AMC Theatres on August 28th.  And it’s a hilarious story where Eddie Griffin’s character thinks he’s a freakin prince who needs to save a princess.  So, he and Josh Meyers’ characters who are mentally insane, break out of an asylum in search of a princess.  Now, what they don’t know is that the woman that they finally choose as a princess to save is my prostitute.  And let’s just say that I’m not quite so happy about that!  Ha, ha.
Also check out my cult film HICK and my indie film THE ODD WAY HOME.  Trust me you won’t be disappointed at all.  They are movies that will move you like no other!

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