Framing Film – An Interview With Dave Vescio
Welcome to the second part of our interview with Dave Vescio. If you have yet to read the first part of the interview just click here to read it before moving onto this part.
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Now onto the interview!
Heroes, Anti-Heroes and Villains
FI: The villain is obviously a vital role to making a great story; but it's always easy to forget that villains are human people too. Nowadays, a lot of cinema is dealing with characters who are neither clearly good or bad and have varied depth - you don't know whether to love them or to hate them; are these the types of roles that you would want to be playing in the future?
DV: Only if the villain still loses in the end. That way you’re still teaching the right morals; because if the villain wins in the end, and is seen as the hero, then you’re doing an injustice to the world. Over 80% of the population who watches movies is young boys between the ages of 12 to 22. And at this age, they are very impressionable. They will believe whatever you teach them. And fiction movies do teach lessons. They’re not only made for entertainment as most people want you to believe that they are. And I honestly do believe that this whole concept of Americans killing Americans from the mass shootings to the gangs to soldiers killing themselves to etc. etc. is because of past movies, past video games, and past novels.
FI: Teaching the right morals is paramount then to a film?
DV: If you don’t teach the right morals in fictional material, how can you honestly expect the younger generations to believe in the right morals that you were taught to believe in and you were told to follow? And the fictional material that the Baby Boom generation was taught (and the generations before them), always taught them the right morals to follow. But, it’s slowly moving into a direction of who cares about the child; as long as it’s entertaining, and it makes us money, that’s all that matters. And that’s wrong on so many levels. But, you know what; I believe in Karma, and in the end, those writers and producers and game makers will pay dearly for it. You’ll see. Trust me I did wrong in my own past life, and I paid the price for it. Everyone does sooner or later. Crime does not pay, and teaching the wrong morals is still a crime in my eyes (and in most peoples eyes). And sooner or later they’ll pay the price for it. So, no, I only believe in doing movies that teach the right morals. And I definitely don’t want people emulating my characters, or coming up to me in real life saying “Oh man, I watched you in such and such, and it made want to be that guy for real”. And you hear that all the time these days. Disgusting. No, my villain characters will creep the shit out of you, or make you wonder if you really want to get close to me in real life. Because once you meet a real life villain, you really don’t know what to trust anymore. And that’s the truth that I want to tell in all of my movies. That will better mankind for the better. Not lying to them or teaching them the wrong things. That will only make things worse. As we Americans are currently seeing in our country these days. My god, kids have to carry backpacks with bulletproof vests inside of them. The United States has definitely changed from when I was a kid. That’s for sure; and not for the better.
FI: If you could have played any villain (or any anti-hero) so far in any film, who would you have played and why?
DV: Honestly, none of them. My goal with my art is to be the very first at doing it. Like what Anthony Perkins did with ‘Psycho’. Or what Ted Levine did with ‘Buffalo Bill’. They were the first ones do that kind of role, and we the audience will never forget those two performances. They moved us like no other. So, for me, I would love to be that one villain role that truly gets underneath the skin of the audience, but, a role that’s never been written before; a one of a kind role. That’s what I’m always seeking from scripts each & every year.
FI: Top 5 Favourite Anti-Heroes of any medium?
DV: Any Clint Eastwood role, Batman, The Punisher, any Charles Bronson role, and the fifth one, hmm, I don’t know. That’s a tough one. Oh, I would say Magneto. I know that the audience sees him as the villain. But, I don’t. I see him fighting for his own race. Sort of like what Malcolm X did for the African Americans; meaning, by any means necessary.
FI: Do you have any tips for those up and comers (or new movie critics) on what to look out for in the hallmarks of playing a memorable and distinctive villain?
DV: Just play the truth, the honest truth, and not try to make it entertaining at all. And trust me, that’s very hard to do. I’m still trying to learn how to do that myself. I mean to take the lines of a fictional character and make it come across non-fictional is so hard to do. But, in the end, the audience truly wants that. Unless, once again, it’s a comedy, then that’s a different beast in itself.
On Method Acting
FI: You mentioned that your favourite actor is Daniel-Day Lewis, a man known for his amazing intensity and dedication in his method acting to each character; what is it that you admire about him?
DV: Definitely, his intensity on changing himself into someone else (and for months at a time as well). First off, Daniel Day Lewis mostly does period piece roles. So, not only does he transform himself into another character, but, he also lives the way that his character would have lived in that specific time period. If you read his interviews, you’ll see that he’ll only wear the clothes or eat the food or bathe and wash or even hunt like his characters would have in that time period. And to me there’s no actor more Method than Daniel Day Lewis. I honestly don’t know how he does it. I cannot transform myself like that. Trust me, I’ve tried. No, for me, I try to make the role as Dave Vescio, but, to be him as well. I’m trying to mesh the two together.
DV: But, Daniel Day Lewis just becomes something else entirely different from whom he really is. And I wasn’t shocked that he broke the record for winning the most Oscars for best actor. He is definitely on his way to tying the record for most nominations too. And he has enough time to break that record as well. A truly gifted actor!
DV: And the funny thing is, a sad thing as well, Heath Ledger did the same thing for The Joker role. And to this date people are still talking about that comic gook villain performance. And Heath Ledger totally immersed himself into that role as well. Now, it probably killed him in the end; but, my god, what a performance of a comic book character, nothing like it to this date.
In method acting, how far is too far? Where does the line get drawn, if it does at all?
DV: I don’t know. Our culture is always changing, and our morals are changing with it. I mean when I was a kid, you never saw implied sex in movies, and now, sometimes, you actually see them actually doing real sex like in ‘The Brown Bunny’ film. Plus, you have actors like Sylvester Stallone who will actually break their neck on ‘The Expendables’ movie because a stunt went too far, and he’ll continue to shoot the movie with a broken neck. So, I don’t know what is too far. Shoot, professional wrestlers in the old days would actually cut themselves and bleed for real in front of the live audience. So, I honestly don’t think there is a limit of truthfulness, except for maybe murder, or cutting up body parts. But, then again, they actually do cut up real animals or eat real animals on set as well. Art is always evolving, and movie art is always evolving. So, the only line that I don’t ever see them crossing, but, once again, it depends on the morality of the future world: is death or cutting up of human bodies. But, once again, who knows. We humans are always pushing the limits with everything, and we may go back to that one time period where they did actually kill for art and entertainment, and that was during the Roman Empire. So, you never know. You never, ever know.
FI: You’re obviously appearing in a film alongside Kate Beckinsale – what’s your role like there and how was the production?
DV :We actually shot the movie last summer, so, it should be coming out in 2014, if not later on this year. And my role is that of a man protesting outside of the courthouse wishing this guilty client and her lawyer dead. And Kate happens to be the lawyer in this movie. So, it was fun; small little role, but, definitely fun. And Kate is great! So, so beautiful and a phenomenal actress to watch work! And I got to work with Nick Nolte as well. He’s awesome too; so professional.
FI: How does the role compare from 'The Trials of Cate McCall' to 'Hick'?
DV: My role in ‘Hick’ will always be memorable because I’m only one of two villains in the whole movie. So, I would say that my role in ‘Hick’ is probably more comparable to my role in ‘The Odd Way Home’ with Rumer Willis (the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore). And that should be out in 2014.
FI: For our final question, we’d like to ask this for our readers: your favourite film?
DV: My favorite film is ‘Staying Alive’ with John Travolta. Plus, it was directed by Sylvester Stallone. And the reason I love it so much (and I always have ever since that I can remember) is nowadays it really resembles my own artistic life. The movie is about a dancer who really doesn’t fit into the Broadway dance world at all, but wants to be the lead dancer in a Broadway show. And the same with me, but, as a lead villain in a studio budget film. So, that’s the goal!
That’s it, and thank you for reading!
Link to Dave’s iMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2057822/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Follow him on Twitter: @davevescio
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