Dave Vescio ('Gemini Rising')
'The Ultimate Rising Star!'
Sci-fi actor Dave Vescio is starring as the lead villain role in the Syfy Channel movie, 'Gemini Rising' (2011) starring along-side Lance Henriksen. Dave plays a brilliant but twisted scientist – an antagonist, his specialty.
Dave has made a career out of his fascination for the darker side of the human condition with over a dozen sci-fi/horror roles in more than forty-six appearances to date. Once a CBS News and TV journalist covering natural and manmade disasters, Vescio has parlayed his onscreen appearances to feature films and TV show, choosing roles that reflect the depth of his art.
While many actors begin their craft through more common means, this seasoned chameleon began acting for more personal reasons than just his art. Vescio has a deep need to feel emotions in his characters, to conjure emotion in himself through them. The shy, reclusive son of a fighter pilot in the U.S. Airforce, turned CBS photo journalist, turned professional actor found a way to feed his unconventionally dark past into his craft.
Next, Dave is set to play Bennie, the lead supporting role in the 2011 film about the Juarez Drug Cartel and the DEA agents trying to stop them in this hard edge, fast-paced action-drama, Blood on the Border. Also coming out in 2011 Dave will play the supporting role in the thriller Showdown in Durango starring Martin Landau.
Dave Vescio recently spoke with Exclusive Magazine about 'Gemini Rising,' about his other upcoming movies, and about his days as a CBS photo journalist.
In your new film, 'Gemini Rising' you star as the lead villain! In fact, it's that of a brilliant, but twisted scientist. Knowing we can all carry around such traits at the best of times, how much of that character is actually you?! "Ha, ha, that’s a good question. Well, I was taught that Art is just Truth; truth that you Know better than anyone else on this planet."
"So, a lot of this Dr. Bainbridge character is definitely me, or was me (at one time in my life), or is going to have to become me (because if I didn’t experience these scenarios in ‘real life’, then I have to try to experience them ‘for real’ on the movie set instead). And since I’m a Method actor, I’m definitely ‘more than willing’ to go wherever my characters have to go, to make the imaginary scenes as truthful as possible for me, as well as for my audience."
Playing alongside the great Lance Henrikson, did you two chat about anything in particular away from filming? Did he give you any tips, perhaps? "Lance is definitely a pro! I learned so, so much from him. He taught me what acting can definitely become, if you just allow yourself to evolve with the story & with your own character in the ‘real world’ instead. When I first met Lance at a cast and crew bar-b-q party, he was talking about how the world is going to end in the coming months, and how everyone should be ready for it with supplies of silver bars, food, & water!"
"And I figured at first, that Lance was some old timer just preparing for the next terrorist attack (maybe something nuclear this time around). Until I finally realized, that he was just being his character instead. And I went, “Wow!” That was truly AMAZING to watch; and so f**king believable as well! :) Wow! And Lance would continue to this acting technique of his, on and off screen, majority of the time that we were on set, or at rehearsals, table reads, or cast and crew gatherings."
"Once again, it truly was a privilege to work opposite of Lance Henriksen! I am so, so grateful to him!"
Have you a favorite scene you shot from the film? Whether it kept going wrong, or you nailed it first time, is there one that stands out for you? "The scene for me that keeps on jumping out is a scene that I did with John Savage and Lance Henriksen in the control room in the middle of the movie. It’s a scene were everything is horribly going wrong, and I, Dr. Bainbridge, somehow, someway needs to correct the situation, without getting any kind of help from Lance’s character at all, which is a very tough thing for my character to deal with."
"But, I also love performing in the torture scenes as well; from me torturing someone, or the heroes of the story torturing me instead. It definitely was a BLAST to perform in this film, as an emotional erratic head scientist!"
Being that I haven't seen it yet, please tell us a little bit about this Syfy Channel movie "'Gemini Rising' is a science fiction action thriller about an ex-homeland female security agent and highly competent martial artist, who gets drawn into the nefarious plans of an egomaniacal military colonel who runs a top secret research facility, buried in an extinct volcano on an uncharted tropical island. And the colonel plans to use Alien technology to build an army of drone soldiers. And then the fun begins!"
And will we see any demons CGI'd in, perhaps?! "Yes, there definitely were CGI’d transformations in this movie; that’s for sure. We actually have two aliens in this movie that are totally CGI’d. A small one and a very, very large one (and I mean a LARGE one). Plus, most of the interior scenes are green screened as well. So, I can’t wait to see it."
Being that you don't sit still for long, you are now set to play Bennie, the lead character in the 2011 film, 'Blood on the Border' about the Juarez Drug Cartel. Does such a role ever make you think twice about those that were actually involved in such "incidents" and what they might think of your subsequent performance?! "I personally know a lot about the drug war and the drug cartels. So, I’m going to take those actual ‘real life’ experiences of mine own, and apply them to these situations. That way, if any drug cartel member watches the film, then they’ll definitely believe that I’m ‘for real’ in it, and telling their story as correctly as possible."
"Because I was taught by an acting teacher of mine that you just have to fool the ones who have actually done it before in their own real lives. And if you can do that, then you did your job properly as a professional actor. So, it’s my job as a professional actor to proficiently know the nouns of my characters. Either in real life or doing it for real on a movie set instead. And that’s what I LOVE about creating Truthful Art!"
And then, also in 2011, you have a supporting role in the thriller, 'Showdown in Durango,' starring Martin Landau. When does filming start on that and how excited are you to be working alongside the great Mr. Landau? "'Showdown in Durango' is still in the pre-production stage. And as of today, we really don’t start shooting this film until sometime next year. But, I am definitely looking forward to working with Martin Landau though! He’s a legend in our business; and I have tons on tons of acting questions for him. So, I can’t, can’t wait! :)"
Incredibly, it seems 2011 is going to be VERY busy for you ... so, please give us some quick insight into your roles to be undertaken in these upcoming movies:
'Horror 88' - "I’m one of the main villains in the film, who plays a disgruntled man who kidnaps another man’s wife, and threatens to kill her in front of him."
'Vampires of Hollywood' - "I play a quack medical doctor who may or may not be helping the vampires!"
'The Human Factor' - "I’m one of the villains of the film who is a guard like character who kidnaps homeless people off the streets of NYC."
'The Price of Success' - "I’m the lead villain of the film who is a thin, sickly looking, unkept, disheveled filmmaker, whose career was a failure. He lost everything that counted for him; his wife, kids, friends, and even losing his own mind!"
"Thank you! Yes, I definitely do LOVE to stay as busy as possible!"
Looking back, is there a role you've undertaken that, to this day, defines you at that point as the best you could have ever been? "No; not at all. I’m my hardest critic. Until I believe that I’m actually the character throughout the whole feature film or TV project, without ever seeing a glimpse of acting at all, then that will be the day that I did my job the correct way."
"Honestly, I want all of my Art to look like that you’re watching an actual documentary instead of a fictional film. So, somehow, someway I need to figure out how to deliver this kind of acting style to the world. Because I have never, ever seen this done before, so, I definitely want to be the first one to do this, and to continually do it, performance after performance. :)"
Working on genre films such as SciFi, thriller and horror, is there one genre you are more comfortable working within in general though - and why? "Dark comedy is probably the easiest genre for me to perform in. For some reason, it just comes very natural for me. Because I just don’t have to try at all. I just have to believe the actual situation that I’m in, and not stop until I actually get what my character wants/needs from the other actors in the scenes."
"And for some reason it comes across very, very funny to the audience! So, it’s pretty cool! But, I also LOVE doing horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, and crime genres as well. Because that’s dramatic acting to the T, which requires so, so much more (from me) than comedic acting ever will. And I just love that kind of emotional challenge! :)"
You actually began life as a CBS News and TV journalist! So please answer these next few questions:
What made you step into acting back then? - "I started acting at the age of 32 because I just wanted to ‘feel life’. Ever since I can remember, I was taught by my Dad to protect my mom and my brother at all costs when he was away doing combat missions for the U.S. Air Force. My Dad was a fighter pilot who served in the Vietnam War conflict, and for another 23 years. So, I did just that. I learned how to properly protect my mom and my brother when my Dad was gone."
"Then I joined the U.S. Army when I was 18 years old, and then I started to shoot news for CBS News in my late twenties, specializing in spot news (natural disasters & man-made disasters). So, I just knew how to block out my emotions; to never let fear get in the way at all. But, at the same time, I wasn’t truly feeling life anymore because of that. And I had to change that. So, I figured a life as a professional actor would solve that problem for me. And it definitely has! I feel MORE ALIVE than I could ever, ever imagine!"
What was your very first acting job? - "Now, my first acting job was actually a college play. Now, that was a scary, scary moment, but, exhilarating all at the same time!"
What did you get paid that day? - "As for getting paid as an actor. That didn’t start happening for me until about four years after I started acting. I had to do dozens on dozens of acting projects for free, until I was finally good enough, to get paid as an actor. And that started to happen for me when I first arrived in Hollywood in the summer of 2006. And my first paid acting job was playing a 1958 street bum who pesters the lead for some change in an indie feature film. So, that was definitely fun!"
And, what did you spend it all on?! - "I probably spent that pay check on food. Knowing me, probably food! :)"
"I actually began life as a combat light infantry soldier in the 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army; specializing in jungle warfare. Ever since I was four years old, I wanted to be G.I. Joe. So, at the age of 18, I became G.I. Joe. Then in my late twenties I started to work as a TV photojournalist, eventually working for CBS News."
The Fosters beer advert is hilariously stupid, as you well know (on purpose, of course), but did you actually film it in Australia? And, how long did it take you to memorize the script?!??! "No, we didn’t shoot it in Australia. We actually shot those commercials up in the desert near Palmdale, CA. But, it does look like Australia though, doesn’t it?"
"As for memorizing the script; both of my Foster’s Beer commercials were pretty much straight forward. So, I didn’t need to memorize anything. Just a few rehearsals here and there, while the crew members were setting up the sets, and then we did take after take until we ALL got what we wanted from it."
"But, those commercials were definitely a BLAST to shoot though! I had TONS of FUN doing those two commercials (Foster’s Beer “Bailout” and “Social Networking”)!"
Lastly, and throwing you a real journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins, .... do you, perhaps? "And yes, I do love penguins! They’re so, so cute!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of one of Dave's DVDs, or perhaps it will be a poster, or it could even be a photo, just answer this easy question: In which of his moves - a sci-fi, neo-noir thriller - did he play the character known as Eyepatch?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful signed items! Just send us an e:mail here before January 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: DAVE VESCIO SIGNED ITEMs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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