Interview with Actor Dave Vescio
CS: Nice to have you back on CSReview, Dave. We’ll be talking about some hard issues today. You have stated in your previous interviews that you always try to live the character as much as is humanly possible. Does playing dark individuals affect you on a deep intimate level and do you then need time to recover, get out of your character and get back to your normal self? If so, what does it take to do that?
Dave Vescio: Nice to be back. Thank you! To answer your question, it actually depends on the character. The child molester roles are the ones that affect me the most. I mean I have to trick myself into believing that this is right, when it actually isn’t. So, that takes a while to get out of my head. I love playing these antagonists and villains because they all justify what they do, but, in the end, is it morally right? And I think that is the question of art – to raise awareness of today’s morality. And let the audience decide for themselves.
CS: Your nomination for the hero of the week by KNX 1070 Newsradio for making a citizen arrest reveals a side of you that testifies of your high ethical standards, but you know what they say about not making it in Hollywood without budging and bending one’s integrity. Is there any truth in it for you? Are you able to remain faithful to values while working roles that seem to go in line with so many things we consider socially challenging, unacceptable, immoral and even criminal?
Dave Vescio: That’s a tough question. Yes and no. It’s my job to play my characters as truthfully as possible. Meaning, I have to think and do what they think and do which is definitely taking me in directions that I would not choose to go in real life. But, the reason I choose to play these antagonists and villains for the paying audience is because they do exist in real life. And I do feel if I play them as honestly as possible, it may veer the audience members from making mistakes in their own life that may bring them harm in some way. Meaning, always be on the look out for people who want to prey on you; because they are everywhere, and they are definitely preying on you; from child molesters, to rapists, to murderers, to con men, to etc., etc. It’s a dangerous world that we all live in, but, if you know the signs of what to look out for, then we may be fine. That’s why I choose to play the characters that I play. It’s my job to warn the world of their actual existence. Because they do exist, and they are definitely preying on us as we speak.
CS: Would you play any villain or, let me re-phrase, how far would you go in accepting anti-social roles? Would you play Adolph Hitler?
Dave Vescio: I would love to play Adolph Hitler. I mean, what would cause a young Jewish man turn against his own kind? That’s a mentality that I would love to understand and want to express to the world; because it may happen again. History does tend to repeat itself, over and over again.
CS: Your role in ‘The Custom Mary’ falls under the category of controversial, provocative. Who are you playing and what can you tell our audience about your character?
Dave Vescio: I play the character named Pat, an amateur scientist who finally figures out how to clone Jesus Christ from his DNA. It’s a feature film about the cloning of Christ in an age where cloning human beings is possible.
CS: Aren’t you concerned about a possible negative resonance?
Dave Vescio: I didn’t mind being Pat at all. He believed that it was right for him to clone Jesus Christ because he wanted a new order in the world again. He had all the right intentions to do this. But, in the end, is it the right thing to do? The film is not meant to offend anyone in any way, but what if we did have his DNA? Meaning, what if? What if we were able to pull the DNA from The Shroud? What if we were able to pull the DNA from the spear that gutted him? Would humans clone Jesus Christ? And if so, what would he actually look like? The paintings that have been painted of him over the centuries… would he belong to an ethnic group entirely different from what is seen on those paintings and the sculptures of his likeness? That’s the story of ‘The Custom Mary’ and my character. Should we or should we not clone Jesus Christ, and if we do choose to clone him, what would he finally look like? All of this is told in a dark comedy sci fi type of way. It’s just meant to raise serious questions of cloning human beings in the near future. And if we do choose to clone people, then how far are we willing to take it?
CS: How did you land this part? Were you specifically sought for the role or was it agented?
Dave Vescio: I actually auditioned for it. And I honestly cannot remember if I submitted myself or if my agent submitted me instead; probably both. Yeah, we shot this in the Fall of 2008 I think. And it wasn’t until this past August that a film festival would actually screen it for the paying audience; which was HBO’s film festival in NYC. And there’s talk that it may get picked up by HBO Latino, or by another distribution company in the coming months. Nothing is in stone just yet.
CS: Every actor has a dream they wish to fulfill on stage, an ultimate legendary role that demands a peak performance. Straight comic actors wishing to play a dramatic character, like Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby; actors who generally play only positive roles wanting to try their craft on parts of deeply conflicted and negative characters. What’s yours?
Dave Vescio: Honestly, I just want to help create great art that makes you think about life and death, and everything in between; to truly question it all, to see if your own point of view is actually correct or not. To get you to experience something that you’ve never experienced before, but, from the safety of your own home or at the movie theater. I just really love creating controversial or provocative art that invades the audience’s comfort zones. I want to get better at this though, to truly push the limits of our current art form. To take it to a whole new place that it has never been taken too. So, I’m constantly learning how to be truthful in these imaginary fictional circumstances.
CS: Thank you for talking to CSReview, Dave; always a time worth spending.
Dave Vescio: Thank you as well Camilla! I totally do appreciate it! And if you get the chance definitely follow me on twitter @DaveVescio.
Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.
CSReview and Camilla Stein do not support ideas expressed in ‘The Custom Mary’.