Nicholas Meyer’s much awaited 4 hour miniseries Houdini will be aired in America on Labor day, Oscar winner Adrien Brody stars as Houdini and Tom Benedict Knight plays his younger brother and fellow escapologist Dash. Tom is known for being the chameleon of accents and famously recorded 31 in one single take. Now he is set to light up the screen in the History Channel’s new drama which also stars Kristen Connolly.
This exciting biopic is directed by Academy Award Winner Uli Edel and follows Houdini (Adrien Brody) from his humble beginnings as an Eastern European immigrant trying to become a stage magician under his birth name, Erich Weiss, to his role as the world’s first superstar as The Great Harry Houdini. The series examines Houdini’s personal life, notably his encounters with the likes of Rasputin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his relationship with his wife Bess (Kristen Connolly) and brother Dash Weiss (Tom Benedict Knight). Dash had a very competitive relationship with Harry especially in the professional arena, he was greatly overshadowed by his brother and the favouritism their mother Cecilia Weiss showed towards Harry.
We had the fantastic opportunity to talk with the Kick Ass 2 Star, where he talks to us about his experience on Houdini and God The Father, as well as his future goals and aspirations.
You have not been acting that long, but are already booking amazing roles. Can you tell us what your secret is?
Maniacal self belief!? Maybe that but certainly approaching this business like a business, working the industry and trying to create value with the right attitude with everything I do.
Being able to do 31 accents in 1 take is very impressive, how do you move from accent to accent so easily and did it take you long to learn each?
Thank you! It’s been a party trick type thing since I was in my 20’s, people always use to say, you should be an actor, eventually I listened.
What was it like playing alongside Academy winner Adam Brody in Houdini?
A real, real pleasure and education. Watching Adrien Brody bring Houdini to life so effortlessly and at the same time have fun and put everyone around him at ease was a masterclass of cool and professionalism, I’m extremely grateful to have worked with him!
People always used to say, ‘you should be an actor’…eventually I listened.
We are very excited to see Houdini on Channel 4 this Sunday, what can you tell us about your character Dash?
Dash was trained by Harry and in his own right, is a very accomplished Magician. He was very much the number 2 in a professional sense and also with their mother
The relationship between Houdini and Dash was not always easy, can you tell us more?
I really focused on what I felt for Dash being in his position. It must have been difficult, inspiring and motivating all at once to be the brother of the Great Harry Houdini
Being talented with so many different accents, what do you most get cast as?
So far I’ve had a Russian Mob Boss, Italian American Mob Boss, Turkish Chief of Police, British SAS soldier, NY Street Crook, amongst others so mainly Antihero’s or Villains. Having said that I just auditioned for the part of Jesus in one film and Joseph in another so going from bad to the very good doesn’t seem to be an impossible leap.
I really focused on what I felt for Dash being in his position.
If you could play any character what would it be? Also who would you most like to work with?
I would love to play my Great Grandfather. He was a brigadier in the First World War, they wrote a book about him and that’s one of my goals to shoot his story as him, that would be something i’d love to do. My dream is to work with Scorsese and Tarantino for sure.
For ‘God The Father’ your resemblance to Michael Franzese is uncanny, did they add any prosthetics?
No, none at all. I have to say, even my build, head shape etc all matched Michael’s. It’s quite bizarre and at the same time very cool. I admire the man a lot.
Having Michael Franzese watch you playing himself must have been a bit scary, can you share any stories about this?
On the first day I was (I suppose) understandably nervous and I think it 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 even said ‘keep it up Tom, ya making me look good!’
My dream is to work with Scorsese and Tarantino for sure.
You have been very successful in a short space of time, can you share some tips for those just starting out?
Create value for less than you cost, work harder than anyone else, never complain, take a long term view on your career, always stay positive no matter what’s happening around you and act like your Oscar material – every day.
Where can fans find you?
@Tom_B_Knight – expect lots of positive quotes
Is there anything else you would like to share with Just Celebrity Magazine?
Just to say thank you so much for getting in touch, I am extremely humbled to be in the position I am and a huge thank you to the team that is making it happen for TBK, you know who you are!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!
Houdini Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nx5DmK-umw
Tom Benedict Knight 31 accents in one take: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMbhoWrfQYc
God The Father Trailer: https://vimeo.com/100611496#at=18