You may not know the name at first but you will know the face. Dave Vescio is one of the busiest actors in the business. With several films pending Dave took time out to speak with us about his new film “Hick” which stars Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, and Blake Lively.
What interested you the most about working on this project and how did you become involved with it?
I actually loved the character. I remember auditioning for this role, and I really enjoyed being this guy in the audition room. And that’s before I even read the script; because the script wasn’t given to me until I booked the role. But, that’s how I always pick my projects; by the character. Do I want to be this person or not? But, ‘Hick’ is a great script based on a great novel written by Andrea Portes. So, I said yes to this role as soon as I got it.
As for how I got involved with it, I’ve actually auditioned for the casting director before for another role, and she felt that I was a better fit for this role instead, so, she called me to audition for it. And Eyde Belasco (the casting director) was right. I definitely loved being this character.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the character you are portraying?
Well, after I got done reading the script, I also read the novel as well. I wanted to see how the director saw the role, but, I also wanted to see how the novelist saw the role as well. And they both saw it totally differently. And I tried to put both points of views into my character. Plus, my character is a pool hustler, so, I was playing billiards on my own at my local pool hall, rehearsing the lines, trying to figure out what kind of pool player that this Stranger character was. And when I flew to North Carolina to shoot the film, I also played at the local pool halls as well. I was just trying to be this character as much as I could on my own, before I stepped onto set.
What can you tell us about the film, any secrets or behind the scenes stories that you can share with us?
It’s a story about a thirteen year old girl who currently lives in a dysfunctional family, and she just wants out. She wants a better life for herself. So, she decides to run away from Nebraska to Las Vegas. But, along the journey, she runs into all sorts of people, some who want to help her out, and others that just want to take advantage of her. So, it’s a dark comedic journey on being a runaway in today’s world. And I play the Stranger character, who may or may not be helping her out. So, we’ll see…
What do you look for from a director to help you give your best performance?
I actually love working with directors who like to direct, and who have a great vision of the film. I can only see so much of myself when I’m performing on set; because I’m just trying to be in the moment with the other actors. So, I definitely like to have another person on set, to help steer me in other direction; other ways to play the scene; especially, if my own direction of the scene is just not working out.
I just totally believe in collaborating with one another. And in the end, I just want to give the audience the best performance that I can give them, and if a director and/or another actor can help me do that, then that’s totally fine with me. In the end, I just want to give my best performance ever.
When you consider a script or a potential TV or film project, what elements tend to draw you in and make you want to work on that film?
For me it’s always the character. I always choose roles based on if I want to be this person or not. And if the writing is good, then it’s definitely easier to be that person. But, at the same time, if the writing isn’t good, or if for some reason I just don’t understand why this person would say this line versus that line. Then, as long as I want to be this person, then I’ll try to figure out how to make those lines sound and feel truthful for the audience.
I’ll transform myself, if need be, into this person instead. Because honestly, I don’t think there is bad writing; just bad actors. And the reason I say this, is because I once had a TV photojournalist mentor (when I worked for CBS News) who would take the worst cameras in the world, and create great art with these cameras. It’s the person handling the camera, not the camera itself that creates great art. And I feel it’s the same with writing as well. It’s the actor who has total control over these lines. It’s his or her choice of wanting to figure out how to say them truthfully or not. So, I never blame the writer for a bad performance. That was all on me; no one else to blame, but, myself.
What inspired you to choose a career in film; do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into the television and or film industry and what was your big break?
My film career was actually a fluke. I honestly wanted to be a theatre actor when I first started acting at the age of 32. But, for some reason, I never got any theatre auditions. So, one day, a good friend of mine convinced me to audition for a short film that she was already attached to, and I finally went in to audition for the role, and I eventually got the role. And when I arrived on set, I just fell in love with film acting! It’s so natural, so real, and not imaginary like theatre acting is. So, I never looked back. I’ve been a film & TV actor since June 2004.
As for advice, that’s a tough question. Everyone is in this business for a different reason. So, the best advice that I can give is this: always have mentors (as many as you can), and read as many industry books as well. Knowledge is power! And the more knowledge that you can put into your head, and the more knowledge that you can use in your daily life, the higher that you’ll climb the ladder of success. That’s the best advice that I can ever give anyone. Just continually be learning something new about your line of work. That’s the secret to success, in my opinion.
As for my big break; shoot, I’m still waiting for that to happen! But, I’m getting close; definitely closer than ever before.
Who is your favorite actor or actress who inspires you the most and why?
I actually don’t have a favorite. It’s always changing. One week it’s this person, the next week it’s that person. But, for me, what I admire the most are the actors and actresses that can last for decades. The audience just never seems to get bored with their performances, and to me that’s pretty inspiring. And there are only so many of these actors and actresses in the world; who can stay on the top, decade after decade after decade. And to me that is truly inspiring!
Can you tell us about any future projects that you are currently are working on that we can look forward to seeing you in?
Yeah, I actually finished doing a Michael Eisner feature film called ‘The Millionaire Tour’; starring Dominic Monaghan, Ray Wise, Rick Gomez, and Agnes Bruckner. I just cannot talk about it though. Otherwise, I would. Let’s just say it’s going to be something different, something that no one has really done before with a motion picture.
What were some memorable moments from filming?
My favorite moments with ‘Hick’ were the actors, the director, and definitely the novelist. I love surrounding myself with the best of the best. And they were all brilliant to work off of. I just learned so, so much working with this cast and crew. Basically, I got spoiled!
I just want more of these kind of projects for now on; a cast and crew who just wants to give their best every single day, to create great art, that will hopefully be watched by the future generations to come. That’s why I became an actor in the first place. To create great art that will be remembered beyond my death. That’s the goal that I’m definitely going after.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I actually don’t have much free time. I’m always working. There’s always something that I can do every single day of my life to help further my career. So I work every single day of the year, even on holidays. But working to me is my vacation. I just love acting! I love doing this every single day of my life! But, when I do get the chance, when I can find some free time in my life, I do love to surf big waves as well, and go off trail hiking in the mountains/woods. I really do love being with nature as well! It totally energizes me. So, I try to do that when I can.