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There’s A ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Spin-off In The Works Featuring One Of Our Favorite Veterans
When Vincent “Rocco” Vargas got the word that he’d been cast in a pilot spin-off of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, he knew there was going to be one big problem: He had no idea how to ride, despite playing a member of a motorcycle gang. “Dude, it’s scary,” Vargas told Task & Purpose.
The first time on a motorcycle is liable to raise anyone’s pucker factor, even if you’re a former Army Ranger like Vargas with a string of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan under the belt.
“A lot of my life being in the military I’ve been in the mindset that I’m okay if I fucking die doing my work,” Vargas said. “I guess you come to terms with dying if you go to combat, because it’s a job you picked.”
That said, Vargas admits cruising past traffic at high speeds is exhilarating, especially when it’s for a role in a TV series. The upcoming show, Mayans MC, written by Sons of Anarchy director Kurt Sutter, picks up in the aftermath of Jax Teller’s death at the end of season seven, and follows the southern California chapter of the Mayans Motorcycle Club. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a bit before we see Vargas on FX: The pilot was pushed back for reshooting and wrapped Nov. 8, so there’s still no confirmed air date.
It’s been a pretty busy 18 months for the Ranger-turned-entertainer. Last year saw Vargas starring in Range 15, followed by a documentary about the film, Not A War Story, which premiered this month. On top of all that, there were the podcasts, online skits, and weekends spent screaming at Army privates in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Vargas serves in the Army Reserve as a drill sergeant.
Though he couldn’t go into detail about the show’s plot, Vargas had a few things to say about Mayans MC in general and his character in particular. Oh, and some other thoughts, like how to make the switch from a niche space to the mainstream; who does and doesn’t get military humor (ahem, civilians, and actually a few vets, too); and the dangers of overplaying the “broken vet” card in film and television.
There’s gonna be, uh, “issues” in Mayans MC.
“As you know, the Mayans from Sons of Anarchy, started in northern California with Marcus Alvarez being the president and founder, and he’s called the ‘Godfather,’ and our chapter is the southern California chapter, and, you know, there’s very similar conflicts from Sons of Anarchy. There’s gonna be all kinds of issues that our motorcycle club runs into and we’ll see how we deal with them.”
That means punching people in the face. A lot.
“My character is a guy named Gilly, who is Gilberto Lopez, an MMA fighter. What he lacks in wit, he makes up for in brute strength — that’s pretty much the character I’m playing. I don’t really have any details on exactly when it’ll be out. It’ll have to be approved by FX, but the way it’s looking is that it’s going to get the thumbs up.”
A post shared by Vincent "Rocco" Vargas (@vincent.rocco.vargas) on
How he flips an emotional switch for the camera.
“All acting is: you’re recreating human emotions. I think a lot of guys who have lived a very similar lifestyle as I have, have probably ran the gamut of human emotions in combat: anger, to fear, to everything from missing family, and all you can think of … I’ve lost friends in combat, and it affects me if I allow myself to recreate it, relive it mentally. So I’ll be able to expend some of those emotions for the camera by pulling from my own experiences.”
Not everyone appreciates gallows humor, even other vets.
“I think Range 15 was a good indicator of that. A lot of the military demographic loved it, they enjoyed it, and there was a good handful that hated it. I think a lot of the civilians who watched it didn’t understand the military and veteran humor, the banter, so it was kind of hit and miss … Sometimes we have a darker humor because we’re dealing with some serious things in combat. It’s our way, I guess, of debriefing ourselves, of getting through it. Not necessarily everyone agrees to that, and not everyone does that, but you have a good majority that does. That’s the same when it comes to firefighters, doctors, nurses — people in any field dealing with all these stressors, they all seem to handle it with some kind of humor.”
The media has created a false narrative about veterans in America.
“You know, I think mainstream media, social media as well as television and news has portrayed veterans in a more negative light than they have positive. I think what is more appealing to the average person is the hardships, the depression, the post-traumatic stress, and so in seeing that, you’ve had 15 years of mainstream media telling veterans that we’re broken, that we’re suicidal, or that we have suicidal issues or tendencies and that we all have post-traumatic stress. After years and years of hearing that as veterans, you start to have guys who are in awful situations who actually start to believe it. I think all that is a false narrative.”
Be okay with failure.
“I’m resilient. Why am I resilient? Because I’ve done some hard training in my career. I’ve failed at times and continued to move forward. That’s a big one for me. I’m okay with failure. But as long as I’m continuing to learn why I failed, get better at it, and improve myself, that’s good. People need that in the civilian world.”
The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.
Air Force officials are investigating the death of a man near the north gate of the U.S. Air Force Academy on Saturday night after the NHL Stadium Series hockey game between the Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings, military officials said Sunday.
‘That cavalier misdirection cannot stand’ — Washingtonians ask judge to reduce ‘extremely noisy’ Navy Growler flights
The Citizens of Ebey's Reserve (COER) is asking a federal judge to require the Navy to roll back the number of EA-18G Growler practice flights at Outlying Field Coupeville to pre-2019 levels until a lawsuit over the number of Growler flights is settled.
COER and private citizen Paula Spina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday.
According to the motion, since March 2019 the Navy has increased the number of Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and shifted most of its Growler operations to Outlying Field Coupeville, which is near the Reserve and the town of Coupeville.
"The result is a nearly fourfold increase in Growler flights in that area. Now the overflights subject residents in and near Coupeville to extreme noise for several hours of the day, day and night, many days of the week," said the court document.
A 26-year-old man died after he failed to surface from waters off Molokai while participating in a scuba diving tour over the weekend.
He has been identified as Duane Harold Parsley II and was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, according to the Maui Police Department.
LOS ANGELES — For decades, Japanese American activists have marked Feb. 19 as a day to reflect on one of the darkest chapters in this nation's history.
On that date in 1942, during World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the forced removal of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from their homes and businesses.
On Thursday, the California Assembly will do more than just remember.