Interview with David Lopez Jackson

David Lopez Jackson has had more than 100 operations to reconstruct his face since he was discovered by a Swiss charity worker as a baby in Peru. His remarkable life is told in The Boy David Story. Future Movies caught up with David in Glasgow shortly before a special screening of the film for his friends and family.

Is it good to be back in Scotland?

I love it. This is my homeland. All my relatives are here except for my immediate family.

Now the documentaries have been made into the one film, is this the end of you being filmed?

Yes, this is the closer coming here. Most people know my story and one person’s point of view can get tiring after a while. No! I shouldn’t say that, but if you’ve seen the film you see me going to California and that’s my future right there.

Moving to Los Angeles, having seen so much of the filmmaking process and being an art school graduate, are you looking to get into making movies yourself?

Yes. Right now I’m going back to school to do graphics and go into special effects. I want to get into some serious 3-D stuff.

What did you think of the film? Is there anything about it you would change?

Hopefully one day I’ll be my own producer, but listen: I don’t want to say I would have done this or done that because it’s someone else’s work. There were little glitches here and there, but overall it’s good.

We don’t really hear you speak as a child in the film. Is that because it’s been cut or was the footage never shot?
No, it’s there. You’ll see it on the DVD release.

What was it like seeing your biological parents on screen given that you’ve never met them in real life?

It was interesting, because I looked at my blood father and thought, wow! This is the person that started the ball rolling. It was a powerful thing.

Are you exploring your Peruvian heritage?

Right now I’m just focusing on my graphics and special effects. Maybe in the future.

It’s an incredibly emotional film in parts. Is it comfortable for you to watch?

I’ve always been in front of cameras and the press, so I have become almost used to it. Watching myself, it’s like a video diary. I wouldn’t say it has brought me any closer to my parents, certainly not as much as moving away, but it’s made me truly realise what they did for me.

Do you find the Boy David tag restrictive?

Yes. I’d like people to know me as something else. That was one part of my life, but now I want to be known as The Graphic Designer David or The Artist David.

Do you intend to have more surgery?

I think I will have maybe five more operations, just to tighten things up. I don’t mind my scars. They’re a part of me and always will be.

It’s a cliché, but it’s always said that LA is superficial and looks obsessed. How have you coped with that?

I just do what I want to do. People should accept me for who I am, not what I look like. I want people to want to know me because of who I am, not the artificial stuff I have.

Have you found yourself cast as an inspiration to people with disfigurements?

I wouldn’t say disfigurements necessarily, I mean, yeah, sure. But I think I’ve also had people look up to me with challenges in general. When I used to get mail, some of these people didn’t have any kind of deformity but were saying: “Wow! You inspire me.” So if I can conquer the whole Hollywood scene – which is a big leap I admit – I might just have opened a can of worms.

That must be empowering.

It would be empowering, because all of a sudden so many other people would say: if he can do it because of what he is inside, what’s stopping me from doing what I want to do? I can overcome these challenges.

Do you still get as many people staring at you?

Of course. As soon as I step out the door I get it. Even though I may be talking to my friends, I can still sense people around me. Yes, it’s a bump in the road, but I can overcome it with my friends and family’s help.

What does the future hold for you?

The three goals that I want to achieve are to be a really good graphics and special effects artist, to open my own Latino club and to do fine arts. That would be fine progress by me.

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