Pádraic Delaney – Knightfall
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) Because of my contract with “Knightfall” I’m kind of tied in with that at the moment and it means there are things I just can’t audition for. We filmed series one in 2016 and I’m waiting for word on Season 2 at the moment. But I’ve got a movie which will be doing the film festival circuit later this year called The Witness with the amazing actor Bruno Ganz, who a lot of people will remember as Adolf Hitler in the Oscar nominated Downfall.
Q) Please tell us the premise for “Knightfall” and about your character Gawain?
A) Well, obviously there’s a bit of a clue in the title – eventually “Knightfall” will deal with the downfall of the Knights Templar, which happened on Friday 13th October in 1307 but there’s lots to tell before we get there. Season One focuses not only on the Templars, but also the French Royal family at the time, King Philip 4th, his wife Joan of Navarre and their daughter Isabella and added to the mix is Pope Boniface 8th. “Knightfall” tells the story of the relationships between these three entities, the political machinations and the power struggle between all three – they’re all trying to get their hands on the one same thing: the Holy Grail. My character Gawain is the greatest swordsman in the Templars. In episode one we see him suffer an horrific injury which is devastating because it means he can no longer fight. As the season goes on, Gawain becomes disenchanted and he starts to think that maybe the Templars are not for him…
Q) What made you want to be a part of the series?
A) Well, it had never been done before. We’ve never seen the Knights Templar in their own dedicated TV series. Sure, we’ve seen depictions of them on screen before, but they’re usually just alluded to or mentioned in passing. It was the same with “Vikings.” When that was first announced everyone sat up because it was new, completely original. And audiences love that, seeing something portrayed for the first time. And knowing that it was History behind it too was an added bonus for me because they had done such a good job bringing Vikings to life
Q) Was there anything you added to your role that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) Well, you always bring a certain part of yourself to a role, but in my case I took it literally! I was born with a condition which left me with a slightly weaker and shorter right leg, nothing inhibiting but something I had to keep an eye on, especially as a keen gym go-er. I need to wear a raise in my right shoe to compensate the discrepancy and when I take that out I have a slight hobble, which I made bigger to create the limp you’ll see that Gawain has in “Knightfall!”
Q) What kind of research did you do on the Knights Templar to prep for the role?
A) As soon as I was cast I bought a few books: The New Knighthood by Malcolm Barber, who is probably the foremost knowledge on all things Knights Templar and also The Rule of the Templars, which is a rulebook the knights would have had. I also watched documentaries made by History channel and did a lot of research on the net. We were very lucky to have the historian Dan Jones on set with us most of the time so if we had any questions we could always refer to him. Having said all this, I think it was important for us to not to get bogged down with too much historical data because at the end of the day all we’re trying to do was create the essence of this time.
Q) If so, what were you surprised to learn about them?
A) Originally, they were formed to protect pilgrims on the road from Europe to the recently conquered holy land, but within two hundred years they had evolved to become bankers, land owners and a very powerful army who had bases in most European countries and were answerable only to the Vatican. In today’s terms they would have been like a multi-million dollar, multinational corporation with a military wing.
Q) Were you familiar with any of your costars before joining the cast?
A) Before we started filming I was told there would be some of the cast of “Downton Abbey,” but I’ve never seen it so I didn’t know who they were anyway – except Jim Carter who is a legend in his own right. But in my opinion the best thing about “Knightfall” is the acting. Everyone is amazing and I couldn’t see anyone but them in their roles.
Q) What are some memorable moments you can tease fans to look forward to?
A) An incredible opening sequence in episode one where the Saracens and Crusaders go head to head, with everything from hand to hand combat to trebuchets hurtling flaming bombs through the air. In one episode you’ll see Gawain holding a sword bursting with flames, which water can’t extinguish. In another you’ll meet The Brotherhood of Light, a mysterious organization who are somehow part of the history of the Holy Grail…You’ll also meet deadly masked assassins, corrupt politicians and a scheming pontiff!
Q) You’ve done several period pieces. What is it about this genre that draws you to it?
A) I’m a huge fan of history and a big believer that a greater understanding of our past can only enrich our understanding of our present and future; so many of our institutions and organizations have their foundations in ancient history. Personally, I’m a big fan of period dramas myself. The films I watched as an aspiring actor, my favorite films, are all set at different times in the past – from Braveheart to The English Patient. Maybe it also has something to do with a yearning for a simpler time – we live in a world where we’ve made amazing technological advancements in such a short period of time that sometimes it’s nice to immerse ourselves in a world where things seemed simpler….albeit more dangerous!
Q) What do you think it is about the show “Knightfall” that has made it a fast fan favorite series?
A) It’s a fantastic mix of history, action, mystery, intrigue and, of course, love. It’s thrilling with lots of drama. We explore themes like trust and betrayal, love and hate, identity, destiny… It’s all in there. Even if you’re not familiar with the Knights Templar or medieval European history, I think “Knightfall” resonates with you because all of the themes I’ve just mentioned are both universal and timeless.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure fans know about Knightfall?
A) It’s pretty addictive! It’s not “Vikings” nor is it “Game of Thrones.” It’s somewhere in between, it has its own identity. Enjoy the ride!