IT MIGHT BE OBVIOUS BUT ‘Everyone’s Going to Die’. Rob Knighton is what you might call in the biz as a man ‘with a look’. Slick salt and pepper hair, stubble and cheekbones like razors, his leathery skin and lithe physique suggest a man who has seen the world. And lived to tell the tale!
I met the actor –stroke model – stroke carpet fitter just after the release of his lead role in indie flick Everyone’s Gonna Die, directed by the intriguingly named creative ensemble Jones. Candid and alluring, Rob is as charismatic as his character Roy. He arrived to meet me all dressed in white, and as my first interview with a movie star, I think it went rather well!
With a proper East-end accent, and slightly hushed tones, he filled me in on his unusual journey to his acting career and Zoolander he ain’t! He stars in the movie ‘Everyone’s Gonna Die’ alongside German actress Nora Tshirner; The film revolves around two loners, who have very different lives but bond over a chance meeting. The black comedy which unfolds ruminates on life’s oddities, and is a dark look at relationships, families and life after death! An unconventional romantic comedy. But Rob Knighton is not your conventional kinda guy!
Made for about £65,000, it is a small budget production, and it’s just been released, so catch it in your local indie while you can.
Rob Knighton Interview: Everyone’s Going to Die movie.
SD: So how did the directors ‘Jones’ track you down for the part?
RK: I originally did a music video for these guys a few years ago…
SD: Which artist?
RK: The guy who use to be in Busted- Charlie Simpson. It was good. He was really good when he went solo! This is when I first started modeling and I got scouted. I started doing a lot of moving image stuff first.
SD: Was your agency was pushing you for this?
RK: Well actually I had quite a funny start! When I was scouted I was sunbathing in the park! Some scouts came over and asked if I wanted to do a shaving commercial!
SD: How long ago was this?
RK: About five years ago- when I was 50!! I wasn’t sure whether to do it as I had a house full of carpets to fit, and I’ve been a carpet layer for 30 years! But I decided to go for it. I didn’t get that one, but it got me an agency- The Eye Casting and from there, as they are my mother agent, I got lots of other agents as well! Things just really started to kick off. It started with lots of stills and magazine shoots- fashion stuff.
SD: Did you take to the modelling easily?
RK: Well after the initial sort of weirdness of how does this work – before I realised that the trend was going for the older guy and more character look rather than just the young pretty boys! I thought what do they want me for? I couldn’t work it out. And then I saw what they were after, and it was that thing where a lot of guys around my age were becoming popular. So it sort of clicked – oh yeah I can do that! It didn’t take long for me to get booked on moving images, and music videos and commercials, and people were seeing me. So I thought yeah, lets follow this up. And that led into my first role- a lead role, only eight months after I had first been scouted!
SD: That’s incredible! Did you manage to squeeze in any acting training in at all?
RK: No nothing!
SD: Have you always played the same kind of part?
RK: Usually I get a gangster style of role- a tough guy thing, but my character in ‘Everyone’s Going to Die’ is different. He is more sensitive. The main story is about him, and for want of a better expression, his mid life crisis. He wanted a better life and on his way he bumps into a girl who is thirty odd (young enough to be his daughter!) who is in the same frame of mind; She is supposed to be getting married but she isn’t sure, and these two meet and spend the next 24 hours together, having a laugh and getting up to some crazy stuff! I think it’s really well written and very funny.
We filmed it a couple of years ago, but it’s just been released in the cinema, and in the meantime, I have done a couple of other features. I just finished working with Guy Ritchie last week. He’s just done King Arthur and The Round Table. So that’s going to be a massive film. It comes out in 2016.
SD: How did he get hold of you?
RK: I don’t know, but I’d like to know. I have a suspicion that it’s through the thing I did with David Beckham, I don’t know if you’ve seen that- it’s been on TV recently? It’s for H & M Spring Summer season. It was a great gig- we were playing pool all day for three days! Anyway when I arrived on set for the Knights film, it all seemed a bit rushed and hectic in the costume department, and I wonder if David had mentioned me, as I know Guy and David are friends; He might have suddenly decided he needed thatparticular look and called me in. I don’t know!
SD: Which character do you play in the Knights movie?
RK: I play Mordred, the old Druid king. I’m in the massive big battle opening scene- I’m controlling this whole army with my mind, and then I get my head chopped off which is a bit of a shame! Especially because there are five more sequels!
SD: Will it be like EastEnders where you can come back to life? Haha
RK: Well actually I did go back last week to re-shoot my head rolling and my eyes open…because it’s supernatural you never know! They are keeping their options open! It’s going to look incredible with their budget!
SD: Did you ever think you would be doing this when you were younger?
RK: I didn’t really think about it. I’ve always been creative- playing music, photography… but this really feels good to me. When I do it, it feels natural.I’m probably quite limited as an actor as I am not trained, so any outrageous characters or accents, I probably wouldn’t be able to do, but just to tell a true story, I’m ok with that.
SD: Do you have any actors you would really like to work with?
RK: Hmmm…who I admire as actors are Brando or Steve McQueen, and film wise I love Deer Hunter- something with a true story, but I haven’t given who I would like to work with a lot of thought to be fair, things keep happening and I did that thing with Beckham and did another commercial with Penelope Cruz, so I haven’t really had any special ones to aim for. I’ve worked with some great directors as well- Kathryn Bigelow and two Bond directors Mark Forsythe and Martin Campbell, which has been great!
SD: Would you want to hit Hollywood?
RK: It’s great to do indie films and all that, but if a great big cheque came up, then….I could do one of those big action films no problem!
SD: If someone asked you to shave your hair or beard, would you do it?
RK: No. I actually got a part in the film about a prison ‘Starred Up”. I went over to Belfast to the old Crumlin Road Gaol where it was being filmed, and got to make up, and the girl asked me if I was ok as she was about to shave my hair off as the part was for a prison guard. I said I don’t think so!! They normally tell you something like that at the casting! It went backwards and forwards with the Director, but I didn’t want to, and I ended up leaving the film and coming back! If it was big part, it would have been a different thing!! But it did do quite well actually. I don’t regret it though, as my model agency said I would have had to start my whole book again. At my age I want to keep all the hair I can!
And with that, my time is up day. Somehow, I think 55 is the new 25, and Mr Knighton will be the new Silver Fox in town! George Clooney better watch out!
Everyone’s Going To Die is out now, currently showing at selected Picture Houses around London and two screens at the Barbican.
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