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Interview: Former NFL Star Vernon Davis Discusses His Role in Chariot

ComingSoon’s Jeff Ames was able to speak with former 49ers tight end Vernon Davis about his role in the sci-fi comedy/drama Chariot, as well as his acting experiences and upcoming projects.

“A story about a corporation and a doctor (John Malkovich) that oversees the process of reincarnation, and a young man (Thomas Mann) who becomes a glitch in the system when he encounters a woman (Rosa Salazar) he loved in a previous life,” says the synopsis.

Chariot, directed by Adam Sigal, is available on demand, digital, and in theaters.

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Jeff Ames: I’m so used to seeing you in a 49ers uniform that I was completely shocked when I saw you in Chariot.

Vernon Davis: What did you think of the movie?

I thought it was great. I found the movie fascinating, especially after watching a second time where I could pay more attention to the symbolism and story details a little more. So, what initially drew you to this project? And, actually, I should ask, what drew you to the world of acting?

I’ve had a passion for acting since my days in San Francisco. I took a class at the Sheldon Theatre of Art and after that, that’s when I really started to pursue the career.

How difficult was it for you to make that leap? Because you’re really good in Chariot.

Oh, thank you so much. I don’t know. It’s like playing football, they say it takes about 10 years to become a genius at it. Once you get to that 10-year mark it gets easier and easier. Just like acting, once you pursue it and put the time into it and take classes and put your time and energy into it – whether it be a TV show or film — you get better at it. In the last few years, I’ve put in so much time and energy that every movie I do, you can see that I’m taking the proper steps as far as breaking the script down, paraphrasing, being attached to my emotional moments in every beat. All of my actions are there.

Being an artist, I’m pulled into an arena because of the acting and the music. Being an artist, you can do anything.

What attracted you to Chariot?

I thought the director was cool, the storyline was great, and the character was really good. I had to put in my work, it was a challenging character to take on. I like those challenging roles.

I’ve done 10 movies so I’m familiar with the process. I actually just sold my own untitled film to BET a few weeks ago. My partner DeShon Hardy and I created a film and BET bought from us. I play a character named Leonard who grew up with his grandparents. A girl comes and lives with us for the summer and my grandad is having sex with this girl. The grandmother catches them and kills the girl, buries her in the backyard, and puts the grandad in a coma. As the years go by, my character, who never really knew what happened, grows up, has a family, and moves back into that house. The spirit of the girl who died is now in my daughter trying to get rid of my wife.

I’m also in another film called Multi with Cole Hauser and Morgan Freeman. That film is pretty cool because I play a serial killer. In the movie, Hauser and Freeman try to stop me — I’m harvesting body parts.

How do you prepare for a role like that?

What I do is I find things in my life that were really challenging or really upsetting or embarrassed me or caused me pain — my mom dying, people in my neighborhood selling my mom drugs when I was growing up — and attaching that to the character. I’m in a few scenes with Morgan and he helped me out in a lot of ways, gave me tips. I learned a lot from him as well. He was really helpful.

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At this point, are you open to anything or is there a particular genre or character you’d love to play?

I have to read a script and see who the character is and what he’s all about. I would love to play a superhero. I’d love to be in an Aquaman movie. Not as Aquaman, but as a character.

Are there any other projects you can tell us about?

I’m in a project called Going Home. It’s about an award-winning nurse who works in a hospice. I play a character named Tyler Cobb, who’s dying from liver failure. He’s a former NFL player who’s having complications. It’s pretty cool.


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