Dave Vescio

Dave Vescio is a criminal turned actor who, since leaving prison, has gone on to work alongside the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kate Beckinsale. Dave has mastered the art of playing the villain, but he’s actually a really nice guy, and here’s the proof.

Interview by Jakob Lewis Barnes
Q. You’ve had quite the journey into the world of acting. At what moment did you realize that performing was the way to go?
A. I was always taught to follow my heart, no matter what.  And I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best people on this planet, or at least be mentored by them. From my childhood, during my time in the infantry and in prison, learning culinary arts and TV photojournalism, to where I am today, and these people were the best of the best at what they did. They taught me that you’ll know when you love your job because you’ll want to do it every single day of your life, and if by chance you can’t do it, you’ll be depressed as hell.  And let me tell you, it does feel like hell when you can’t do it. So, that’s when I knew that acting was my one true love, and I knew that the very first day I walked into my first acting class.
Q. Is there times when you find that your experiences as a criminal have actually benefited your acting career?
A. For sure! First off, I specialise at playing movie villains, so I can always bring real life experiences into each and every single one of my roles, either from my own personal crimes or by having the privilege of being caged up with these kinds of twisted villains at Fort Leavenworth Maximum Prison. I have actually met a lot of criminals since then too, and I’m always researching them in their environments as well. It’s my job to bring the hard truths to the world, that’s what professional art actually is. So that’s what I do, or try to do, with every one of my antagonistic roles. Plus, I get to release my skeletons and confront them, because the truth will definitely set you free, it always has, and it always will. 
Q. You’ve been involved in projects with some huge names, including Chloe Grace Moretz and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, how did you find working alongside these actors?
A. I LOVE working with the best of the best! It’s the best way to truly learn how to be a better actor. And every single one of my directors has made me a better actor as well. I have been very, very privileged to work along side Oscar winners, Golden Globe winners, Primetime Emmy winners; there’s been a lot of them so far!
Q. Which actors inspire you the most? And who would you love to work with in the future?
A. Since I’m a villain actor, I am mostly inspired by actors who play great villains on the big screen. Such as Ted Levine in ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’, Anthony Perkins in ‘Psycho’, Ralph Fiennes in ‘Schindler’s List’, and Michael Douglas in ‘Wall Street’. Those were phenomenal performances that will rock the world for decades to come!
As for who I would like to work with, honestly, any major award-winning or nominee actor, or any veteran actor. If I had to pick, then I would love to work opposite Daniel Day Lewis. He’s the most method actor there is and he’s going to beat Katherine Hepburn’s record of winning the most Best Actor/Actress Academy Awards. So Daniel, for sure!
Q. Of all the acting roles in your catalogue, which has been your favourite?
A. So, far it’s what I have on my current acting reel right now: the stranger character in ‘Hick’ starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne & Chloe Grace Moretz, the salesman in ‘The Odd Way Home’ starring Rumer Willis & Chris Marquette, and Eddie in ‘The Millionaire Tour’ starring Dominic Monaghan. But, I also loved my role as the sign man in ‘The Trials Of Cate McCall’ starring Kate Beckinsale & Nick Nolte. But, since the movie was sold to Lifetime Television, my scenes had to be cut out due to violence. But, that’s fine; it was great working opposite of Kate & Nick. They definitely taught me a lot!
But, I’m also looking forward to being Bobby in ‘Wolf Mother’ starring Golden Globe nominee Tom Sizemore. It’s a villain role I’ve definitely played before, but not like this. This is new territory for me, so I’m excited to start shooting.
Q. If you could play any movie character, who would it be and why?
A. I love indie films, and honestly, indie film is brand new territory for movies. They tend to be storylines that are so different from any ever told before, or the direction and editing of them is totally brand new. We just don’t do remakes in indie films, only studio movies do that, and I’m just not a fan of most studio films. I also see myself as an artist who is trying to bring the hard truths to the world, and studio films rarely do that nowadays. That wasn’t always the case, but it is nowadays. So, I would rather stick to original characters in original storylines in the indie film world, because that’s what I love most!
Q. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
A. From August 28th, AMC Theatres  give you the chance to see my lead villain role in the movie ‘Going To America’ starring Eddie Griffin, Josh Meyers, Najarra Townsend, Mindy Robinson, & Penny Marshall. It’s a hilarious story about two crazy guys who break out of a mental asylum, because one of them (Eddie Griffin) thinks he’s a prince on a mission to save a princess. Well, let’s just say that ‘princess’ is my prostitute. So, my character is not happy about that at all! So, if you get the chance, definitely check it out. We won fifteen different awards in the film festival circuit this past year for this film.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you can pass on to aspiring actors?
A. That’s a tough question. There’s so much advice to be given. If I had to sum it up in one neat soundbite, I would say that the only thing stopping you from making your dreams come true is applied knowledge. That’s it. So, go out there in the world and find that knowledge and start applying it to your daily habits. And the ones who have this knowledge are the ones who actually make their dreams come true; only they know how to get there, because everyone else is just guessing and assuming, and we all know what making assumptions truly means: making an ass out of you and me. Only study the best of the best, they will always teach you the way!

Learn more about Dave by following him on Twitter @DaveVescio and on his IMDb page. Dave’s next project, ‘Going To America’, is released in selected US theatres from August 28th.

Leo And Marty Team Up Again

Time to get excited everyone! The best actor in the world (unofficially), Leonardo DiCaprio, and the best director in the world (also unofficial), Martin Scorsese, are teaming up once again. Great things always happen when these two come together on a project – ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ springs to mind – and this time around, we could maybe, possibly, finally see that Academy Award fall into Leo’s arms.

We know you hear that every time Leo signs up for a new role, but we are hopeful that this will be his best shot in a while. The untitled project, adapted from Erik Larson’s 2003 non-fiction book ‘The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America’ (we assume they will condense that title considerably for the film), will tell the story of 19th century serial killer Dr HH Holmes. The malevolent doctor is believed to have killed anywhere between 27 and 200 patients, by various gruesome methods, which as horrible a topic as this may be, sounds just the ticket for a dark, gritty, Oscar-winning performance. Here’s hoping!

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

The Oscars 2015: Winners & Losers

What a night! What a long night! From this side of the pond, watching The Academy Awards live was hard work, but ultimately a satisfying and worthwhile experience. The 87th annual awards show was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, but I have a feeling we may have witnessed his swansong appearance as the presenter of the show. Aside from a theatrical, energetic and rather funny opening gambit, Patrick Harris quickly sunk into an apparent depression, barely even cracking a smile (even at his own jokes).

On a positive note, we were treated to some truly great acceptance speeches, from Patricia Arquette’s rousing feminist speech, to Graham Moore’s emotionally charged display, culminating in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s modest show of gratitude. The highlight however, has to be John Legend and Common, with their powerful, moving rendition of their track ‘Glory’, which won the award for Best Song. The performance, swiftly followed by the award, drew tears and a standing ovation from the crowd, with the emotive connotations linking the song to the story of ‘Selma’ and Martin Luther King’s drive for racial equality.

All of the eight nominees in the Best Picture award managed to get their hands on at least one of the little, gold statuettes, but it was ‘Birdman’ who stole the show with wins in the major categories. ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ swept the board for design-oriented categories, whilst ‘Whiplash’ also enjoyed three victories. Richard Linklater will probably be the most disappointed, with many fans taking to social media to vent their anger and disbelief at The Academy’s oversight.

Here’s how the night unfolded:

Lupita Nyongo takes to the stage to present the award for Actor In A Supporting Role. This category was pretty much sewn up weeks ago, by J K Simmons for his role in ‘Whiplash’ and there were no surprises this time.

A quick-fire double for ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ as they check in with the awards for Achievement In Costume Design, and Achievement In Hair & Make-Up. A lot of people saying ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ should have took the latter.

Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor present the award for Best Foreign Language Film to Polish flick ‘Ida’. Director Pawel Pawlikowski ignores the get-off-the-stage-now music and completes his rather long acceptance speech.

The award for Best Live Action Short goes to ‘The Phone Call’ whilst Best Documentary Short is given to ‘Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1’. More of those long acceptance speeches.

Sienna Miller and Captain America present the awards in the sound category. Sound Mixing goes to team ‘Whiplash’ and Sound Editing to ‘American Sniper’. I feel Sienna Miller may have rigged the votes on that one.

Last year’s winner of the Supporting Actor award, Jared Leto takes to the stage, head to toe in baby blue, to present the award for Actress In A Supporting Role. Another relatively predictable win as Patricia Arquette takes home the award, for her role in ‘Boyhood.

The award for Achievements In Visual Effects goes to ‘Interstellar’, rightly so. Disney’s ‘Feast’ scoops the award for Animated Short, whilst a stunning Zoe Saldana and Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock present the Oscar for Animated Feature Film to ‘Big Hero 6’.

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ makes it a hattrick of wins, taking the award for Achievements In Production Design. Swooping down to grab the award for Cinematography, with a strong indication that more are to follow, ‘Birdman’.

A big win for ‘Whiplash’, taking the award for Achievement In Film Editing, is preceded by the ever-emotional In Memoriam montage. A pair snubbed by The Academy this year, Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo step up to present the award for Documentary Feature to ‘Citizen Four’. This is all soon forgotten as John Legend and Common raise the roof with their performance of ‘Glory’, which takes the award for Best Song soon after. Common poetically describes Selma Bridge, “this bridge was built with hope, welded with compassion and elevated with love for all human beings”. A truly powerful performance and speech which is worth watching.

The last of the relatively minor categories, the award for Best Original Score goes to, you guessed it, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. Screenplay appreciation time, with ‘Birdman’ taking the award for Original Screenplay and ‘The Imitation Game’ writer, Graham Moore, recognised for his Adapted Screenplay.

Time for the big four. Richard Linklater took 12 years to create his epic ‘Boyhood’, but that counts for nothing apparently. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu steals the show again, taking the award for Best Director and claiming to be wearing Michael Keaton’s “tighty whiteys”.

No such surprises in the category of Best Actor In A Leading Role and Best Female In A Leading Role, with Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore picking up the awards we all knew they deserved. Last but by no means least, the big one, the award for Best Picture. Before the big night I had ‘Boyhood’ down to take this one, but as the night went on I think we all realised that it was, of course, going to be ‘Birdman’ and Inarritu who would scoop the number one prize.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Oscars 2015 Close-Up: The Theory Of Everything

And so concludes our 8-part featurette, the Oscars 2015 close-ups. The big night is this Sunday and personally, I am extremely excited for what is set to be an intensely tight race for numerous awards, none more so than the Best Picture category. Just about every one of the eight films nominated for the award have been touted as the ‘hot favourite’ at some point, and rightly so, with such a superb range of films this year. Last but not least for our little focus, is ‘The Theory Of Everything’, the dramatic-biopic based on the memoirs of Jane Hawking, the ex-wife of British physicist Stephen Hawking. I had the pleasure of watching this film just a couple of nights ago and will be reviewing ‘The Theory Of Everything’ later in the week. For now, click here to read more about the film.

Oscars 2015 Close-Up: Birdman

Our penultimate close-up zones in on Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s dark, comedic-drama ‘Birdman’. Starring Michael Keaton, this unique film has garnered critical acclaim and numerous, prestigious awards in the run-up to the Academy Awards, making it one of the strong favourites to win in the Best Picture category. Read Entertainment Weekly’s focus on ‘Birdman’ here and read the JumpCut UK review of ‘Birdman’ here.

Oscars 2015 Close Up: Whiplash

With just 12 days to go until the Oscars 2015 ceremony, we had better get a move on with our feature on the eight films nominated for the Best Picture category. Film six is Damien Chazelle’s drama, ‘Whiplash’, the story of a young drummer and his ruthless mentor. As well as being up for the Best Picture, J.K. Simmons is currently odds-on favourite to scoop the award for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of the obsessive instructor. Read an interview with Simmons here.

 

Oscars 2015 Close Up: Grand Budapest Hotel

Nearly there now guys! 18 days to go until the big night, and here is a look at one of the forerunners for the Best Picture award, Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’. With an endless all star cast and quirky, odd narrative, this critically acclaimed wonderland film has received praise and countless awards since its release and is a hot favourite to scoop at the Oscars. Read the interview with director Wes Anderson here.

Oscars 2015 Close Up: The Imitation Game

As we head into February, let’s get back on with the Oscar buzz. Next up in the spotlight is ‘The Imitation Game’ and we are halfway through the Best Picture nominations now. Directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this is the story of Alan Turing, the man who cracked the enigma code and ended World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch talks about the role here.

Birdman’s Big Weekend

This weekend, at the SAG and the Producer’s Guild Awards, the world of film awaited results which would normally indicate which film would be the frontrunner for Best Picture at The Oscars next month. But Alejandro Innaritu’s ‘Birdman’ has caused chaos by pipping the big favourite ‘Boyhood’, to clean up at this weekend’s awards ceremonies. Read more about how ‘Birdman’ took control of the Oscar race here.