ComingSoon.net did an interview with Brian Goodman, who co-wrote "What Doesn't Kill You" with Donnie. He talks a little about Donnie. Here are some quotes:
CS: ... was Donnie Wahlberg (the film's co-writer who plays a small role) someone you knew from Boston?
Goodman: Donnie I met when I first got out in a high stakes card game. I met Donnie when I first got out of prison years ago, and we became acquaintances for a while and then we just evolved into where… and I don't use this word lightly… but we developed into very close friends.
CS: Was Donnie already into acting himself at that point?
Goodman: He was just starting out, 'cause the first audition I went on, I ended up being in the same movie he was already in called "Southie." I had known him but I never even talked to him about the audition or nothing. Just went in on a fluke on a local hire audition thing and I ended up getting a speaking part, and then when I moved to L.A., that's when we became close friends.
CS: Did you and Donnie have any concern about casting New York guys to play the roles?
Goodman: No, I wanted the challenge. I really wanted the challenge. I wanted to be able to be afraid, I wanted to be ignited by fear to make it even more interesting. If I went after Donnie's brother Mark or somebody from the neighborhood that would be so on the nose, I felt that would make it less of a challenge. I wanted to get somebody where I knew I could give an opportunity to Mark and show what he was made of, because I think sometimes, all actors are victims of material. We never get the role or something to bite into, and this one here, I knew he could… Mark's a solid, solid actor. And Ethan Hawke, I didn't see anybody else after I knew I wasn't playing that role, and he was better than I would have been. I liked him for it. I hopefully was going to play that role at one point but when I started to realize it's not going to happen, I was going to go a different route, Ethan was the first one I had prayed and hoped for.
To read the rest of the interview, click here