Joey Vieira: Top Gun!

March 31, 2021

With roles in upcoming Queensland shot features Black Site and Escape from Spiderhead, and a lead in trending short film Decommissioned, the Californian born and raised actor is reaping the rewards of hard work (and the successful COVID response in Australia).

Tell us about Black Site

“This is an action-packed thriller that is set in a Five Eyes top-secret facility; Five Eyes is an agreement between the CIA and the Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England secret service.”

Where did you shoot the film?

“We were based on the Gold Coast at Pinnacle Studios but also filmed on a range of locations including the Brisbane CBD.”

How do you feel that locals are with respect to film crews?

“The feeling has always been positive with the locals! It’s been crazy busy here in Queensland with filming happening everywhere. We actually had a film crew just down the street from where I live, and it was the talk of town. People love it and look forward to watching it when it comes out because it was shot in their backyard. The locals are happy and so are the local venues for our business!”

How was Sophia Banks to work with?

“Sophia has a really distinct visual approach as a director, which is great as an actor. She knew exactly where she wanted to take the film and the set was such a supportive environment with a great ensemble. I feel so blessed to have been cast in her very first feature film. I’d work with Sophia any day!”

Black Site has a mostly Australian cast, is that because it is set here, and I suppose, how do you fit in?

“Given the nature of what Five Eyes is, it makes sense in terms of the cast to have characters that represent the diversity of the countries. I may have grown up in America and am definitely an American on screen, but I’m also now a fully-fledged Aussie and very proud to be calling Australia home. I don’t think you’d find a military or military kind of situation that does not have a fairly diverse range of nationalities on location and the film really has that too.”

Tell us about Escape from Spiderhead, and what role you play?

Escape from Spiderhead is a psychedelic sci-fi film adapted from the short story by George Saunders. My role will be revealed soon but what I can say, is that it was a very challenging character to play… next to Chris Hemsworth! Talk about a dream job. It was so wonderful walking onto a set where I knew most of the crew from previous projects. Smiles all around from day one until the end. It was an epic experience, and we all look forward to seeing the end product on Netflix or the big screen.”

Joseph Kosinski is a visionary filmmaker, plus he’s coming off Top Gun: Maverick!! Any Top Gun goss, and also what was he like to work with; is he different to other filmmakers you’ve worked with, and how?

“Joe earned my respect from day one on set. His attention to detail with every character and his vision for the story was so crystal clear and he has absolutely no ego. He’s so down to earth and as an actor, he is so freeing in how we can develop the role together and I loved every second on this film. Miles Teller has worked with Joe on Only the Brave and Top Gun and I got the feeling he would work with Joe on anything. Top Gun is not my film to give anything away, but I can say, that what I heard about it, means I’ll be first in line when it come out here!”

Escape from Spiderhead is being made for Netflix, who famously leave filmmakers to their own devices – was that the case in your opinion, compared to other films?

“Netflix know their audience better than anyone and also trust the filmmakers and teams they are bringing together to tell the stories. I didn’t see much presence, but we were also shooting during COVID and so it’s fair to say that it’s not a normal environment regardless of the set I’m on, these days. Essentially all the productions I’ve worked on during COVID have been closed sets and discourage anyone that doesn’t need to be on set, from being on set. It’s about safety for everyone and getting the show completed in that safe environment…and everyone is 100% on board.”

I really enjoyed Decommissioned, congrats. Was playing a lead role exciting? Is it different to being a supporting player, and how?

“I’m glad you got a chance to see it! It’s had over 100k views on Vimeo and the response has been so positive in both the horror and sci-fi worlds! I was super excited to work with director Josh Tanner and play this role, but the pressure was on to complete it in a very short amount of time. I give all roles the 100% that they deserve. Supporting is just as important as the lead role, in my books. This was a very physical role, and the challenge was to keep the “zero gravity” feel believable, and it was successful thanks to Keir Beck, the stunt coordinator… who I also worked with on Escape from Spiderhead and Black Site.”

You must be ecstatic about your move to Australia, with the amount of production happening here?

“Truly it has been falling in love with this country every day and COVID couldn’t have reinforced that more. How lucky are we to be in a country where most people understand that we need to look after other and just do the right thing? And with the production coming as a result, it’s been the best of both worlds!”


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