Chicks Chats with…
Tom Benedict Knight has over 16 films under his belt including Kick Ass 2, Dracula Untold, He who Dares I & II, God the Father and various TV roles, including the recently aired Houdini appearing alongside Adrien Brody in a mini series for Channel 4. Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in NYC trained, all in just 3 years!! We at Those London Chicks catch up with the talented Tom to discuss his work, inspirations and his whirlwind journey…..
Tom,15 years in property investment and marketing across three continents with 300 employees, clearly you make a success of everything you put your mind to. What made you decide to change your life and enter the fierce, competitive world of acting?
Thank you. I had reached a point where the love had gone out of what I was doing. Acting seemed like something I’d enjoy, then people started to say things that made me think I could take it to the next level, so I did.
Many! Life and business are full of them. I used the setbacks and set up’s for comebacks. My failures are always the foundations that I build my successes on and I fail more than I succeed so I have some spare foundations if anyone needs to borrow them!
What or who keeps you motivated and inspired to succeed?
Sometimes I have wondered what is it that keeps me so constantly determined. I’ve been very affluent and then broke and then started over several times and no matter how hard it gets I have found the strength to keep pushing forward. Now, I do it for my family and I, to make life as fun and abundant as possible.
We can’t speak to you without bringing up your hilarious YouTube video ’31 Accents in one take’. Your Jamaican accent is one of my personal favourites,. Great ‘ear’…. when did you notice your talent and do you think its been instrumental in your career progression?
Haha, thank you! I guess I first noticed in my 20’s, I could re-create people’s accents, one grew to a few grew to any and most accents.
You’ve played a wide range of roles, what has been your most challenging role, and why?
My most challenging yet most enjoyable was playing Michael Franzese in God the Father. Challenging because there was no margin for error, enjoyable as I’m a huge GoodFella’s fan and actually getting to become a real character from that era was immensely rewarding. To add to that, the person I was playing – Michael – was watching me the whole time, very cool indeed.
We at Those London Chicks really enjoyed Houdini, with Adrien Brody in the title role, you played Houdini’s brother Dash. What was it like working alongside such an impressive cast?
Adrien Brody has air of supercool calm that is contagious, he put me at ease in some complex scenes and I felt like I’d known him for years. It was an acting masterclass and I learnt so much on how to conduct myself at the top level. A real gift of a job!
You’re now producing several projects which you’ll also star in. Was producing always part of the plan?
With a business background I guess it’s natural for me to want to transition to production. It’s risky and complex but also immensely rewarding and shortly after I realised I had to act, I then realised I wanted to produce too. I’m not always keen to star in my own productions, I’d very much like to just be a film-maker as I’m such a film lover.
We are about to see you in the lead role playing Michael Franzese in Mafia biopic ‘God the Father’. Due for cinema release 31 Oct in the U.S. Tell us a bit about the film.
Michael Franzese was a Capo in the Columbo Crime family in New York in the 80’s and 90’s and was the mastermind behind a Billion Dollar tax fraud. After almost getting a 100 year sentence, and being killed by the mob with the support of his family he ‘resigned’ from mob life and found god. Michael now is a minister of the church and speaks to people all over the world. The film God the Father is about his miraculous transformation.
Was there a pressure having Michael Franzese involved, watching you play him, if so, is there a story you can share with us about that?
Ha, yes on the very first day of filming I had first day nerves and maybe have showed. Michael came on set and told me how he felt in this scene in real life and it filled me with an energy that basically was the spark to a huge fire. From that moment on I managed to ‘become’ literally transform into Michael. It was immensely important to me to portray him in a way that he was proud of, that he felt made him look truthful, and cool! Michael was very happy with my work and I think even said ‘ keep it up Tom, ya making me look good!’
What advice would give to someone, who like you has a dream to be an actor whilst doing something else, but unlike you, are crippled by fear?
I almost became an actor at 27 so when the chance came again at 34 I didn’t want to waste another 7 years and just went for it. There’s a saying ‘when is now a good time?’ I think that for anybody doing something small every day to step towards their passion, their goal, that’s enough. Start now, do something small, build up whilst doing your day job. Greatness is many, many small tasks done well. At least that’s my belief and I try to do my best to live by that. Something every day in pursuit of my passion, my vision, my goal. When is now a good time?
Dracula Untold came out on the 3rd of October that I’m in which was really exciting! Currently I’m off shooting a new film called ‘The Call Up’ and have a couple of Brit Independent films out later this year and early next. It’s all happening at the moment and I’m super grateful. Thank you to all involved!
Thank you so much Tom