He is the man behind The Man In The Black Suit Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Nicholas Mariani: My name is Nicholas Mariani and i was born in Salt Lake City, UT and raised in Rochester, MN. He has worked on numerous commercials, feature films, and IMAX movies. In 2002, he served as Post Production Supervisor on the animated film The Princess and the Pea and the live action feature Jumping For Joy, which won an audience award at the Chicago Film Festival. In 2003, he produced the short film Flash in the New York City area. He is a graduate of New York University’s prestigious film program. The Man in the Black Suit marks his directorial debut.
SKSM: When did you make The Man in the Black Suit? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Nicholas Mariani: The film was shot in the summer of 2003 on location in Park City, Utah with the crew from CBS’s hit television show ‘Touched By an Angel‘. It was a twenty page script. We shot it in two days. The longest day was nine and a half hours long.
SKSM: How come you picked The Man in the Black Suit to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Nicholas Mariani: I thought it was a very interesting presentation of grief. Rather than deal with a heavy-handed one to one sort of thing, King converted what is essentially a tragic family drama into a sort of horror piece in a very interesting way. I thought it was a very compelling piece of material that had a lot going on in it. It’s got a lot of layers and on the surface, it’s a very engaging story, but there’s also a lot going on underneath it all.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Nicholas Mariani: No. I had no idea. In fact, I had approached a lot of other authors before I even thought of King. It was really just dumb luck. After getting rejected by every author in town, I sat down and read King’s latest short story collection just for pure fun and stumbled onto “The Man in the Black Suit“. I loved it. I thought ‘there’s no way Stephen King would ever let me do this.’ But, at that point, I figured I had gotten a rejection letter from everyone else, so I might as well complete my collection. To my surprise and astonishment, he said ‘yes’.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Nicholas Mariani: Not really. The whole production went pretty smoothly. That’s the benefit of working with a professional crew. I suppose the one bit of ‘trivia’ that jumps to mind is the fish we use in the beginning, which is a live fish, was actually caught about thirty seconds before the shot was taken. We had a fisherman come that day and just dropped his line and pulled out a beautiful trout for us to use. Just like clockwork. The guy really knew what he was doing! Incidentally, the fish lived and we put it back right away, so please, all you animal activists out there, don’t write me any letters.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a video release would be possible?
Nicholas Mariani: Oh, they can see it. I have film festival rights and the right to show it privately. Other than that, it’s all done on a case by case scenario with King.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Nicholas Mariani: I sent him a copy but have not heard from him.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick – at least – one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Nicholas Mariani: Nothing specific jumps to mind. Everything King’s written with the exception of maybe five or six titles has already been made. I’m excited to see what Vadim Perlman does with “The Talisman” and I’m also excited to see how “Riding the Bullet” translates.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Nicholas Mariani: I’d like to offically thank Stephen King once again and say I think it’s very cool and refreshing to see someone of his stature willing to help someone like me. Also, if there are any Hollywood producers reading this who are looking for a director, contact me immediately!!