I first saw Dave Vescio on the big screen at a cinema in the cult classic “Hick” where he was cast alongside Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Chloe Moretz, Eddie Redmayne and Blake Lively. His portrayal as a child rapist where he corners an underage Chloe Grace Moretz in a toilet stall is provocative. It doesn’t get any more disturbing or darker than watching a paedophile attempt to rape a child. He has appeared in 55 films, has over 66 credits, and has tackled notoriously confronting issues such as Domestic Violence, Child Bullying, Sex Trafficking and Child Abduction. Prior to becoming an Actor, Dave Vescio was in the military, then became the middle-man for a drug cartel, evaded arrest for a year and a half, was sentenced to prison for ten years, and then obtained employment as a television photo news journalist reporting on behalf of CBS News.
What were you trained to do when you joined the U.S Army?
Ever since I was four years old, all I ever wanted to be was G.I. Joe. So, I spent my childhood preparing myself for it, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to Order of the Arrow to qualifying as a sharp shooter with the NRA, and at the age of 18, I finally enlisted in the U.S. Army as a combat infantry soldier, so, I can become a real life G.I. Joe. And after I got done with boot camp and infantry school, I then requested to be trained in jungle warfare, since I grew up with a father who did three tours in Vietnam. So, that was my specialty in the U.S. Army at the 25th Infantry Division. Even though once a year we trained in other regions of the world for at least 30 days to prepare us for other kinds of warfare, such as desert, cold weather, and urban warfare.
Were you expected to travel overseas and engage in combat and if you did, what was your mission?
I got very lucky, since I was trained in jungle warfare, the battles in those types of environments took place before I ever joined the Army or while I was in infantry school (the invasion of Panama) or in military prison (the invasion of Somalia) and then again after I got out of the U.S. Army. So, I personally never saw combat as an infantry soldier. Even though I’ve been shot at before with real bullets in other kinds of situations in my life.
Dave Vecsio in the combat infantry unit in the U.S. Army in 1990. He is the very first one in the top left hand corner.
How long did you stay in defence and what motivated you to leave?
If I remember right, I only had one year left on my four year contract with the U.S. Army, and I was in a really bad place with myself. I just wanted out of the military, so, I could go to college full-time and I was just partying way too hard with drugs and alcohol and before I knew it I was a middle man in a LSD drug cartel getting ready to sell military weapons. So, in the end, I had to go on the run from the FBI, ATF, HPD, CID, and I heard I had a $20,000 bounty on my head as well. And one and a half years later, I finally got caught and sentenced to a hard labor military prison called Fort Leavenworth instead.
What kind of drugs did you deal in when you were a middle-man for a drug cartel?
LSD was my primary sell, but, I also sold marijuana and steroids to some military troops.
You have said in previous interviews that you sensed you were dealing with an Undercover Agent; what was it about the Agent or the circumstances you were presented with that made you suspicious?
It was actually a military friend of mine who suspected that this woman who was buying in bulk from me, was an undercover agent. So, one day after one of my drug buys, my military friend purposely followed this woman back to the CID building on Schofield Barracks. The CID is like the FBI, but, for the U.S. Army. So, it wasn’t me that sensed it at all. I wasn’t that smart to sense it at all to be honest. But, in the end, I just didn’t care if she was an undercover agent or not. I actually loved the whole cat & mouse game that we were playing with one another. I just love psychological games and I still do to this day!
Brought down by an enchanting undercover agent!
A year and a half on the run is quite impressive – did you turn yourself in, get snitched on, or were you caught fair and square?
LOL, I actually got myself caught instead! I drank way too much one night at Virginia Tech University (where I was hiding out for a couple months) and I just blacked out from all of that drinking, and I just woke up from my black out with five cops and three cop cars all around me and with blood on my hands from a fight that I just don’t remember at all. So, that’s how I finally got caught in the end.
Worst hangover to wake up to.
You were sentenced to prison on drug charges – what was that first day in prison like for you?
I was actually sent to different types of jails before I finally got shipped to Fort Leavenworth for good. I started off at a Blacksburg Police jail cell, I just remember being drunk the whole time, and then I was shipped off to a Virginia County jail cell, that was scary at first, until I learned that all of the inmates were afraid of me instead, because the jail guards told them that I was ex-infantry. So, that helped calm my nerves down a bit. Then I was shipped off to Pearl Harbor Naval Brig in Hawaii while I was waiting for my court case to take place. Then after my court case hearing, I was finally shipped off to Fort Leavenworth which is in Kansas by the way. And Fort Leavenworth scared me like hell because now I’m in a maximum federal military prison with the worst of the worst inmates on the freaking planet. From serial killers to serial rapists to murderers to arsonists to bank robbers to computer hackers to you name it. Anyone the U.S. government was truly afraid of was sent to one of these maximum federal prisons like Fort Leavenworth. So, at first, I was truly afraid for my life until about a month or so goes by and I totally realized that they are just like me. And that’s when everything clicked for me and I just wasn’t scared of any inmate or for that fact any human being ever again. Everyone has weaknesses that I can take advantage of somehow someway, physical or psychological. As I have told journalists before, the U.S Army taught me physical warfare and Fort Leavenworth taught me psychological warfare. I just don’t fear humans anymore.
Robots, Zombies and Vampires on the other hand…
What would a typical menu for the week at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas be?
Well, since it was a hard labor prison, we were forced to work eight hours a day, five days a week or we went to the hole instead for refusing to work. So, 40 hours a week was just working for the prison. We also got fed three times a day at the prison’s cafeteria, and we could exercise or play sports or games with each other every single day as well. And we could check out books from the prison library or have books sent in to us from friends & family members. So, I purposely read three to five books a week. There were also TV sets that we could watch before or after work and every weekend they would play movies for us as well. There was also a prison radio station that we could listen to with headphones, as well as a prison newspaper if I remember right. There were Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings that we could go to each week, as well as church services on Wednesdays & Sundays. We could also take college courses. So, the prison would send in the local community college to teach us semester long classes or we could just read the whole text book our self and just take the final exam instead. So, I did both tactics to keep myself super busy in prison. And I think that’s about it, I don’t remember anything else that we could do in prison. So, that was what a daily week was like at Fort Leavenworth, besides all the freaking games that the inmates and the prison guards would play on us inmates. There’s always someone who wants to be the main Alpha of a group and will fight for that place if need be. So, you always had to deal with these alpha types who used physical force and/or psychological games to gain power in prison.
I would not mess with Dave Vescio after reading all this. He’s too switched on. Unless that’s what he wants us to think so we don’t mess with him in which case we might mess with him, but then he might be right and we’d be wrong.
Fort Leavenworth Prison, Kansas.
When they allocated a room to you, were you expected to share the space, and what alternatives, if any, were available? I am thinking what that would be like for you if you were sharing with a violent offender. I can’t imagine that being a serene environment.
At the maximum level everyone had their own prison cell that would lock down at 10pm and open back up at 7am. But, if you were a good inmate, you could work yourself up to the minimum levels where inmates shared cells together. But, those inmates were also good inmates who were trying to get parole or speed up their prison sentences. So, we never had to share cells together with inmates who refused to follow the prison rules. I only had to do that in Virginia County jail.
Great intel. If anyone gets in trouble, don’t agree to get sent to Virginia County!
Virginia County – to be avoided.
You were sentenced to 10 years but were released sooner; how did you manage to get your sentence reduced?
I actually hired a great lawyer who used to be a prosecutor himself, and he knew the law inside and out. So, my lawyer finally got my sentence dropped to five years in total, if I plead guilty to the charges that the prosecutor actually had proof that I did, versus what they suspected that I did. But, the judge was not happy about any of this at all, since I was facing 67 years in total for my drug crimes, my suspected military weapon crimes, and for evading the law for a year and a half as well. So, the judge finally sentenced me ten years in prison, which would then purposely send me to Fort Leavenworth Prison versus a smaller security prison. But, the law is the law, so, I only had to do five years in total. So, I did two and a half years at Fort Leavenworth, and another two and half years on federal parole if I went to college full-time & worked full-time as well. Which I did.
That’s a very intelligent way to navigate through the criminal law system – hire an ex-police prosecutor, put your hand up to learn something, work, and then get out.
When you got released on Parole, and after working for CBS News, you decided to pursue acting at the “sensible” age of 32. I’d like to share this interview of you with the effervescent Marc Bailey. The interview covers your journey from the military to your acting role in “Hick.”
Dave Vescio on The CW Television Network, San Diego Living.
What did your audition entail for “Hicks”?
The “Hick” audition was actually easy. I just had to do the scenes with the casting director pretending I was playing billiards in the empty casting room and do the sexual scenes with the young girl (which I just did with the adult casting director instead). But, in the end, those sexual scenes never got shot in the actual movie, because Chloe Grace Moretz was underage when we shot the film in North Carolina. So, we just shot the billiard scenes and the first part & the last part of raping scene instead.
DAVE VESCIO “Hick”
In an interview with Malcolm Holt you said “Hick” was your first big movie, a wonderful interview by the way.
I have included an extract below;
“My very first movie that went to the movie theaters was ‘Hick’. It had a great cast. It featured Chloe Grace Moretz, Eddie Redmayne, Ray McKinnon, Rory Culkin, Juliette Lewis, Blake lively and Alec Baldwin. We shot that in 2011 and it came out in 2012. It’s based on a critically acclaimed novel by the same name, written by Andrea Portes. I was very fortunate because she actually wrote our screenplay and she was on the movie set as well. So I found out through her that 60% of the movie is based on actual truth. Either it happened to her as a child or it happened to her friend when she was a child. So it’s a story about a thirteen year old girl who grows up in a dysfunctional family. Both her parents are alcoholics, people who go out at night all the time, not being with their kids. So the girl grabs a gun and she runs away from home. But the problem is what happens when a thirteen year old girl actually runs away from home into an adult world. What’s the reality of that world? We get to see through Andrea’s eyes, through the characters’ eyes, we get to see how adults will treat this young girl and how they will use it for good or evil. With my character, once you get to me, ‘Hick’ gets very dark very quickly. I think it’s my favourite movie because it’s based on truth.
I couldn’t agree more with you, once you enter that bathroom, it gets ugly fast. Since “Hick” what other films have you worked on which entailed controversial themes?
A lot to be honest! I love doing controversial films and I totally love talking about taboo topics that everyone else is just too afraid to talk about, but, needs to be talked about, if we truly want to make this world a better place for us all. So, in “The Custom Mary” I clone Jesus Christ and let’s just say he does not come out being born white at all, like we all see in the studio movies. I hate white washing! My movie “Wolf Mother” deals with pre-teen sex trafficking, which nobody wants to talk about at all, which still happens to little girls every single day in the United States and all around the world. “Bereave” deals with senior citizens committing suicide to ease the pain of getting older and/or not being able to take care of them self or their family anymore. “The Odd Way Home” deals with bullying of mentally challenged people, as well as incest, which rarely ever gets talked about in Hollywood movies. “Sienna’s Choice” deals with should Do Not Respond (DNRs) be legal in hospitals. And my newest movie “Coach Stage Stage Coach”, which comes out this summer is an art exhibition film created by the world renowned contemporary artist Paul McCarthy. It will probably be the most controversial film ever made to be honest. I just can’t talk about it at all. Sorry.
No worries Dave, I’m not going to torture you, but here is a little something I dug up myself.
Dave Vescio swigging liquor on location for “Coach Stage Stage Coach.”
DAVE VESCIO – “Wolf Mother.”
Synopsis – IMDb:In an attempt to rectify their criminal past, a once successful Hollywood starlet, turned prostitute, and a petty, misogynistic thief, set out together to solve a high profile child abduction case in San Francisco.
—Riding Hood Motion Pictures
DAVE VESCIO “Sienna’s Choice.”
An ambitious and successful young woman by any means, Sienna’s life comes to an urgent halt when faced with a life threatening diagnosis. She must now face what appears to be the most difficult decision of her life, while finding small triumph amidst tragedy.
IMDb Synopsis —Janel Smietana
DAVE VESCIO “The Custom Mary.”
The story of The Custom Mary involves two preachers and a scientist, who discover two drops of Jesus Christ’s blood. They use this material to clone Christ and to impregnate the young Mary with Christ’s DNA. Along the way, Mary becomes involved with a lowrider mechanic named Joe, but their relationship is tested when Mary’s pregnancy does not go as planned. Mary undergoes a transformation of faith, while finding new relationships on the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. IMDb —Josh Taubensee
DAVE VESCIO “The Blessed Ones.”
THE BLESSED ONES Trailer (2017) | Thriller Movie
PLOT: Based on true events. A tightly knit cult hiding in a remote desert enclave prepare for an impending apocalypse, lead by a charismatic leader who binds them all to a suicide pact, in hopes of transcending earth for a new life in an interstellar paradise. Two dissenters try to escape through the vast desert wasteland on the eve of the mass suicide, and are hunted by the cult’s enforcer – who will stop at nothing to see they keep their part of the bargain.
In another interview you gave with the Hollywood Funk, you discussed your role as “Rocco the Pimp.” How did you prepare for your audition?
Dave Vescio HF Morning Show Interview on his role as “Rocco the Pimp” in “Going to America.”
I actually never auditioned for Rocco at all. The role was just given to me by the director/writer Param Gill. As for preparing for the role, it’s a comedy with Eddie Griffin & Josh Meyers, so, I was just trying to keep up with their fantastic comedy chops. I just suck at comedy, but, from time to time, people just give me these comedic roles for some reason, so, I’m just trying to do the best that I can, without ever having any training in comedy at all. I love drama acting way too much. That’s all I ever study every single day of every single week. As for comedic roles, I’ll just do if it’s offered to me, but, I don’t ever want to study it at all. I became an actor to do tragedies, not comedies. Even though my most popular indie films are dark comedies or mockumentaries. Which is technically a mix of tragedy & comedy. Which maybe I am best at to be honest.
Good on you Param Gill for not putting Dave through more grief. And Pizazz News readers, I don’t think Dave Vescio sucks at ALL at comedy – look at him as a Meth Head on Jimmy Kimmel Live! I HOPE Jimmy Kimmel keeps bringing him back to play the Meth Head.
Here is Dave Vescio doing Meth Head shenanigans in two segments on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
FINALLY… METH HEADS CAN CONNECT!LAUGH MORE ON MY SITE 🙂 >>> http://yano.do/1xP6IuG
Posted by Yanodo? on Monday, 5 January 2015
Dave Vescio on Jimmy Kimmel Live in “Meth Match.”
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 11, 2018
Dave Vescio on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as the Meth Head in Ikea.
What are you currently working on in 2018?
As of now, I’m just getting ready for COACH STAGE STAGE COACH to come out this summer and trying to find myself a new controversial indie film script to act in next. And since I’m a major influencer on Twitter, I’m just trying to raise as much awareness as possible about crimes against women & children as I can. Just really trying to spread awareness for these types of crimes to as many people as I possibly can. I know the more we talk about these crimes to one another in public to one another, the sooner we all can figure out how to resolve these crimes for good. That’s how everything changes in the end, when we actually talk to each other about it & debate about it & argue about it, until we all finally agree on what we should do about it for good. So, that’s what I do every single day on Twitter, with my film art, and with these press interviews as well.
I just love how he is using his influence on social media to generate those conversations. If you don’t have time to sift through the news and read long articles look at some of Dave’s tweets for quick updates.
How #HollyWood #Actor @DaveVescio Uses #SocialMedia 4 #Success
Dave Vescio, thank-you so much for sharing your inspirational story so candidly with us. We are confident that you will continue to find roles which are intriguing and purposeful.
Dave Vescio – Acting Reel
The scenes are from: ‘Hick’ starring Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne & Chloe Grace Moretz, ‘The Odd Way Home’ starring Rumer Willis & Chris Marquette, and ‘The Millionaire Tour’ starring Rick Gomez.
May 9 2012
How I Went From Ex-Con to Movie Villain
Written by Dave Vescio
I didn’t become an actor until I was 32. But before that, I lived life to the fullest, and it’s my real-life personal experience that prepared me for the dramatic feature film career that I currently have.
By the time I was 18, I had moved 12 times. My father was a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force, and when I was 18, I joined the U.S. Army and specialized in jungle warfare for the 25th Infantry Division. Later on, I got into drugs and alcohol and started dealing drugs as a middleman in a drug cartel. After I figured out that I was dealing to an undercover agent, I was on the run for a year-and-a-half. I was finally caught and sentenced to ten years at the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas, a hard-labor, maximum-security prison for Department of Defense inmates. I did five years in total; two-and-a-half on the inside and two-and-a-half on federal parole.
Prison was the best thing for me. I got my act together, cleaned up, and started to educate myself. I finally went to college at Virginia Tech and, in my junior year, CBS News pulled me out of school to work full-time as a TV photojournalist who specialized in spot news (natural- and man-made disasters).
At 31, I instead realized that I wanted to be a professional actor. So, I read over three dozen acting books. Two of the books really stood out are “True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor” by David Mamet and “A Practical Handbook for the Actor” written by his students. I applied to The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, Mamet’s acting conservatory in New York City. I did the summer program in 2002, and trained for a year before I got the courage to audition on my own.
And ten years later, after doing more than 50 acting projects (mostly film-festival projects), I had my first big-screen movie appearance as a supporting villain in “Hick,” starring Alec Baldwin, Blake Lively, Chloe Moretz, Juliette Lewis and Eddie Redmayne. The movie opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 11.
Dreams can definitely come true if you work harder and smarter than everyone else. That’s my motto in life. So, that’s what I’m constantly working on every single day; being the best of the best – not only in acting – but in business as well.
I’m probably the only ex-con, ex-infantry actor in town who specializes at being the creepy antagonist/villain. I want to be known as one of AFI’s (American Film Institute) Top 50 Villains before I die. I came to Hollywood not only to make great art, but to work with the greatest artists of our time and make pieces that will impact future generations.
I want to create controversial and/or provocative movies such as “Hick” that invade audience’s comfort zones. “Hick” is based on a true story about a 13-year-old girl who runs away from her dysfunctional family and the real-life consequences of what may or may not happen. Derick Martini, a protégé of Martin Scorcese, directed the movie based on a critically-acclaimed novel of the same name written by Andrea Portes. This movie is definitely making an impact and getting underneath the skin of most audience members. Some are already saying that this will become a cult film for the younger generations to watch.
In the meantime, I continue to seek the most controversial/provocative scripts with the most talented filmmakers and actors. I’m here to impact our world, show the world the truth of real-life villains, and the difference between villains that scare us and those that entertain us.
In the end, you wouldn’t want your next door neighbor, who also happens to be a serial killer, set loose, now would you? Instead, you would want him or her put away in prison for good. Movies today should be told like the fairy tales of the past. The villain must lose, the hero must win, and the victim must be saved. That way, you’re constantly teaching the right morals to the younger generations.
That’s why I’m here: To teach the younger generations that crime doesn’t pay. I’ve lived it for real, and now, I’m here to teach the reality of that world.