The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 25

Left: Actress Eiza González
on set at the Good Hope
Centre in Cape Town.
Below: Dave Wilson
with Vin Diesel, one
of the most bankable
actors in Hollywood.
Opposite: Dave
directing his first
feature film, Bloodshot.
He ended up as the creative
director at Blur, taking over its
running in 2014 when Miller took
time off to direct the acclaimed
comic-book adaptation of
Deadpool. And as the wheel
turned, Dave ended up moving
on from Blur and getting his
break in the director’s chair.
It was 8am LA time when our
Skype call connected.
Dave, I presume you had a
leaning towards the digital world
and sci-fi from an early age. Do
you remember how it all began?
I was eight or nine when I begged
my parents for my first computer.
They didn’t know what it was or
what to do with it, so they kept it
on their bedside table, to make sure
I wasn’t doing anything unsavoury
with it! I was actually a nerd in a
jock’s body: when I wasn’t playing
rugby or running around a track,
I was reading fantasy novels. But
I was into everything: comic
books, video games, movies,
coding – I was into it all. And it
was a pretty… let’s call it exclusive
club back then. The computer
science department at Bishops
had maybe four people in it, and
I remember all the side-eyes I got
when I dropped out of biology to
do computer science. My friends
were like, “Where are you going?”
Where did you study film?
I didn’t. When I finished school,
I followed the crowd to UCT. But
to be honest, school wasn’t really
my thing. I will be forever grateful
for the privileged education I was
fortunate to receive, and all the
memories on the sports field, but
there was more to me. Most times
I felt compartmentalised, people
seeing what they wanted to see;
and I bought into that too. Letting
your true colours fly in high school
is hard. Being a nerd or a geek
at school, in those days, wasn’t
exactly the stuff of legend – but
I can’t tell you how proudly I wear
that badge in Hollywood. Most
of my pitches start with “I’m
a huge nerd…” because in this
town, these days, that’s currency
that matters.
Also, I guess I always wanted to
do things rather than learn about
them. Varsity turned out to be
a similar challenge. I remember
going to a guidance counsellor,
a 60-year-old Afrikaans dude,
who asked me what I wanted
to do. I said, “Man, I just want
to make movies, but I want to tie
them to interactive entertainment
and visual effects.” And he looked
at me and said, “Well that doesn’t
sound like a career at all!” I found a
degree that had a third-year course
in advanced graphics visualisation
or something, which sounded
interesting. But I found myself
having to do applied mathematics
and statistical analysis – which
was fine, but it would have been
a long, rigorous path just to get
to third year for that one halfcourse! So I finished first year,
dropped out, and never went back.
That must have gone down
a treat with the folks?
Actually, that was a huge moment.
I remember walking down Jammie
steps and my mom was waiting
for me, and I said, “Mom, I’m done.
I can’t do this any more. I’m in the
wrong place.” I thought she’d give
me the whole “you need to finish
your degree” thing, but she didn’t.

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