He played in Nicholas Mariani‘s Dollar Baby The Man In The Black Suit as Man in the Black Suit.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
John Viener: I am an actor and a writer, and sometimes, when I’m really motivated, I’m a director, too. I have been writing on the cartoon show “Family Guy” for several years and have been shooting short films in my spare time.
SKSM: How did you become involved for The Man in the Black Suit?
John Viener: Nick Mariani saw a film that I co-wrote and acted in that appeared in the Sundance Film Festival. He said that he had a Stephen King movie that he was working on and he’d be in touch.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
John Viener: He asked me to audition on tape, which I did and then he cast me.
SKSM: You worked with Nicholas Mariani on this film, how was that?
John Viener: Nick was very easy to work with. He’s got a good sense of humor and I was impressed that someone so young (he was just out of college) seemed to have a handle on the whole filmmaking process. He seemed very confident in what he wanted and had been thorough in terms of preparing for the shoot, so everything went smoothly. At least it looked that way to me.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
John Viener: There is a scene where I have to bite into a dead fish. We didn’t have a prop for that so a local guy on set caught some fish in the nearby stream. Although I love sushi, putting my mouth on a scaly, dead fish was a new experience for me. Especially as the takes went on. We go through it, but I wasn’t man enough to really take a big chunk out of it.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
John Viener: I still talk to Nick occasionally. He gives me grief about not writing more feature films.
SKSM: What did you do after The Man in the Black Suit?
John Viener: I stayed in Los Angeles and started to focus less on acting and more on writing.
SKSM: A theme in the movie is the fear of death… what do you fear?
John Viener: I fear everything. I’m afraid of failure and I’m afraid of success. I’m afraid of dying alone and I’m afraid of being with one woman for the rest of my life. In general, I’m neurotic, so I try to focus it into my work. On the work side, my fear is that every job I do will be my last.
SKSM: Are you (or where you) a fan of Stephen King’s work?
John Viener: I read “Misery“, “Night Shift“, “Firestarted” and “Pet Sematary” in grade school and high school. However, I stopped reading his work after I couldn’t finish “It.” So, I had not read “The Man In The Black Suit” until right before we shot. Most recently I read his non-fiction book on writing, which I enjoyed. He’s very good at what he does, but I feel like I’ve already given him a fair portion of my brain space, so I’ve been focusing on other authors.
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?
John Viener: I appreciate that you took the time to track me down for this interview. I hope that the people who have seen the movie enjoyed it. I’ve only seen it in my house, and though I clapped very loudly, it would have been nice to experience the movie in a theater. And to all my fans, I would like to say, “Wow, I didn’t know I had any fans. Thanks.”