‘I did 31 accents and characters in one single take’: An Interview with Tom Benedict Knight

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We catch up with Tom Benedict Knight as he finishes filming his new film God The Father. After being part of films such as Kick Ass 2 and Dracula: Untold this is his first film starring as our lead and we’re looking forward to it!

You’ve only recently got into acting over the past couple of years and previously held a “high level business career in real estate” can you tell us a bit about why you swapped careers and what led to it? 

For me the passion and excitement had really gone out of what ‎I had been doing for many years and I decided that I had to follow a hunch. I’d thought about becoming an actor at 25 but didn’t follow through on the intuition at the time. When I felt the nudge of intuition again, I thought I can’t delay another 8 years and got started pursing something I really, really wanted to do.

Have you always wanted to be an actor? 

From when I was a teenager, people said ‘Tom you should be an actor!’ as I was great at accents, I could do them all and it’s unusual I guess, I thought about being and actor way back then but decided to be an entrepreneur instead.

So can you tell us a bit about your new movie God the Father? 

Still pinching myself I shot this film as it’s quite possibly the coolest role I will do, maybe… it’s the story of ‘La Cosa Nostra’ mob boss Michael Franzese. Michael defrauded the US government of $1 Billion dollars in the 80’s and 90’s and was the Mafia’s ‘Young Prince’. A remarkable story of how Michael eventually resigned from the mob and without becoming an informant managed to avoid death and 100 year jail sentence. Michael did end up in prison for several years but whilst there he found god. Now, he is deeply religious and is a Minister of the Church. He speaks publicly to hundreds thousands of people across the US, proving that if he can repent his sin’s, anyone can. God The Father is his story, in the movie I have the role of Michael. Michael was on set watching every scene I did, re-enacting his life, it was a surreal and wonderful experience.‎

What is your most memorable moment in filming? 

I am very lucky to have done so many great roles! From doing a scene with Hit Girl and Kick Ass, machine gun shoot outs, battle scenes on Dracula, I’ve had some great scenes. The most intense and complex scene I’ve done was in God The Father when Michael was fighting for his life with words, if he said one wrong thing or showed weakness he was dead. That was an interesting scene. Having said that, one of my favourite scenes was with Adrien Brody in Houdini when he threw a playing card at me across the table and I caught it for real, what a cool moment..‎

What attracted you to the role? 

I have an incredible agent and she has been instrumental in building my career to get these kind of epic roles. At that level as a new actor, its very rare to get seen for such interesting parts, its almost a case of all the roles I’ve been seen for have interesting aspects about their characters, I wish I could do all of them!

You’ve been in big films such as Dracula Untold and Kick Ass 2 but do you prefer filming for TV or cinema? 

I guess movies generally offer you more time on scenes and are known for that luxury, in the TV I have done one was quick, super quick! The other Houdini was like a movie, I whole day to a one room round the table scene. I’m so happy to do either, its impossible to say which I prefer!

So you’ve just been in Dracula Untold, what do you think makes the vampire myth so attractive that it keeps getting re-adapted? 

Hollywood likes formulas that work. They put finance behind the winners and make them big. I guess our human fascination with wondering if once upon a time if vampires were or are indeed real has been successfully financed by Hollywood and that’s why we keep seeing it come back.

Have you found yourself having any particularly long takes where a scene was just hard to get right?

I shot one fight scene for 17 hours, another for 11, endless bumps, bruises and sore muscles. Getting accidently whacked with a gun or weapon, that sort of thing. Action scenes can often take the longest. When acting, being on the ball and nailing the pure acting is essential in this highly competitive art, so no I haven’t had any moments when I couldn’t ‘get there’. Still I approach each role being super humble as that moment could come anytime.

If you could re-make any film or TV show and choose your role who would you be and in what? 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Clint Eastwood’s epic role please. Having said that I’d happily do Lee Marvin’s role too, what a classic.

Which actor do you aspire to be? 

Tough question, so many, now I will go with Sean Connery. I’d love bring to a role what he brought to Bond. Does it get cooler than that? ‎

You were also in the crime thriller film The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, what’s different about filming a horror movie as opposed to say a comedy or drama? 

Bizarrely I’ve not done a horror or comedy yet… so I will have to get back to you on those… all my roles have been thrillers and drama’s, in essence the conflict is what we love to see, so as an actor focusing on these elements is key, I always like to bring conflict to the work I do, people seem to like it.

Which actor would you most like to star next to? 

Robert Deniro. Deniro’s work made me want to become an actor, to do a scene with him would be the most amazing experience.

Do you have any special talents or weird party tricks?

31 Accents in One Take, I did 31 accents and characters in one single take, its got me roles and a great agent – check it on youtube if you get a chance – ‘Tom Knight 31 accents’‎

Thank you very much for the interview!

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BA English student at University of Southampton and Editor for The Edge (2015-16). A deep love of reading, theatre and all things entertainment.

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