Retired San Francisco 49er Vernon Davis woke up at 4 am to prepare for filmmaking. Each day, movie crew members prepared Davis with makeup, a wardrobe and rehearsal before the live shooting of his most current project.
Davis has been shooting a film called “Red Winter” ‑‑ the now actor wrapped up his role on March 11 in the movie ‑‑ which is a film about a couple that goes out to a retreat on the hills with a snowmobile to Colorado in an effort to work on their relationship. Enjoying their trip, the couple meets six other couples before their tour guide is killed. Witnessing the murder, the couple then needs to escape to survive all the while the protagonist, Davis, needing to profess his love to his soulmate and convince her father he is the right kind of guy.
For the gregarious athletic hero, though, the process to make this movie has been smooth sailing, as the former NFL star has been acting on and off since he’s bee registering virtuoso performances in the NFL, a time when he caught the ball 583 times for 7,562 yards and 63 touchdowns for the 49ers, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.
As it turns out, the pensive athlete playing in the league for 14 seasons has, in fact, helped him transition to acting.
“It’s cool because football prepares you for it,” Davis said. “You go to the facility and your meeting all day from 7 am to 4 pm. It’s pretty much just meetings, practices are only for an hour or an hour and a half out of the entire day, so it prepares you for the life after for sure.”
Davis’ preparation in football has coincided with what it takes to be a consistent, working actor after playing his most cherished game in football, and this is exactly how he wanted his retirement to play out thus far. Davis identified from a very early age that it is important to find your passions in life, avoid grousing around, as the work ethic will seamlessly transition into a passionate endeavor one chooses to pursue.
“I think the purpose is the enjoyment, it’s all about what you enjoy,” Davis continued. “I’ve always believed in doing something that I really enjoy, and I’ve been like that pretty much my entire life. If I’m not enjoying it, it’s not fun. I’m not into it then I’m not going to do it. It makes it easier, because now you don’t have to sit around and do something you don’t really care about. And that produces a negative attitude and it makes you feel like you should be doing something else, so to be able to do this is effortless. It’s seamless and it makes life so much more enjoyable when you’re having fun.”
The message for “Red Winter” is pretty enjoyable and seamless to every aspect of life. Davis, also a former Maryland Terrapin, said viewers can expect a resilient message from “Red Winter,” which is “no matter what life throws at you, you still have to continue to keep pushing on and beneath it all, you still have to enjoy life because you never know what will happen and this movie is all about the wrong place and the wrong time, so enjoy life, take it one day at a time, hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and know that in the midst of life, there will be so many things coming at you, but you still have to stand up, keep pushing, stay strong and know that if you have faith, everything will be alright.” Davis has been pushing on defenses and the daily rigors of life all through his 36 years of existence, including filmmaking. Davis’ first movie was “I’m in Love with a Church Girl.” He then went on to act in “Baywatch,” and “Hell on the Border,” before starring in a lead role for the first time in “Red Winter.”
Davis will also continue to play significant roles in four more films this year.
The Washington D.C native developed a passion for pursuing creative arts when he was in San Francisco. In the summer of 2013, Davis wrote in an improvisation class at Shelton Theater of Arts, and the final assignment was to act in a play. Gaining the tools needed to be successful as an actor, the productive tight end acted in short films, including “Captain Torpedo,” which, as it turned out, really cultivated his passion for acting in films.
“I fell in love with it, and I pursued it because it put me in a good space, and I felt like it was something that I could really do if I worked hard at it,” Davis said.
While Davis puts all of his effort in doing the very best he can in acting and when he was a football player, the two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion doesn’t forget about the community in which he came from Washington D.C.
In 2019, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser honored Davis with a Vernon Davis Day for his efforts in creating the Vernon Davis Foundation, a community service project in which Davis partners with several good causes in the community, including combatting homelessness, promoting reading literacy and awarding scholarships.
Another community service project produced by Davis was an art gallery in San Francisco for local creative minds to showcase their art. But recently, the football player turned actor changed the mission of his Vernon Davis Foundation to impact people in many different sectors of life. All these community service projects from his harmonious group put Davis in the running for 2019 Walter Payton Man of Year award ‑‑ an accolade from the NFL that is the highest honor for former or current NFL players volunteering and participating in charity work in the community.
Since Davis has been retired, he isn’t exactly milling around, as the philanthropist has been a man on a mission, so much so that it will take a little longer for him to soak in all of his life after gridiron action.
“Retirement’s been great, a lot of people ask me that question, but I still haven’t had the opportunity to experience it long enough, so once this year goes by, and 2021 comes around, I’ll have a good idea on what that really looks like,” Davis noted.