BSCkids recently spent some time speaking to Maxim Knight, who portrays Matt Mason on the TNT show Falling Skies. He spoke about spending time on set and why he became an actor.
This young rising star plays youngest son Matt Mason on the hit television show, “Falling Skies”. Maxim Knight works beside Noah Wyle and Drew Roy in his powerful sci-fi show following a group of survivors of an alien invasion. While they struggle for survival they still try to stick together as a family. Maxim mixes in young innocence and brilliant talent proving he has what it takes.
BSCkids: You started acting pretty young. What made you decide it was for you?
Maxim Knight: Well, when I was 2 or 3 I naturally wanted to perform for people. My dad noticed this and signed me up for an acting class . . . I was 6 at that time. I had a blast acting in the class and paid attention to everything the acting coach said. Now, I was kind of a clown in school. But when they told me I had to behave to get a work permit that was all the motivation I needed to shape up! I was pretty sure this was what I wanted, more than anything.
You wrote your first screenplay in the first grade, what kind of experience was that for you?
I wouldn’t really call it a “screenplay,” it was more of a story I just wanted to write down. Actually the “Movie Journal” was a reward for finishing my work quickly in school. It was the only thing I wanted to do. I loved to imagine the music that would go on in the background, even though I didn’t know how to write music. By the end of the year it was finished, so I made it into a puppet show and performed for the class. My teacher even brought in a cool puppet theater! I enjoyed it so much that Mrs. Uyeda, my teacher, had to tell me to stop; otherwise I would have kept performing till the end of the school day. I have a lot to thank Mrs. Uyeda for; she was very supportive of my weird ways.
You already have five acting credits to your name this year alone. Is it difficult being so busy?
It can get hectic . . . there are some days when I’ve got several auditions and an interview (or two). But when you love it, each crazy day just feels like fun.
You are quite knowledgeable about film; what film has given you the most inspiration and which film do you consider your favorite?
Tough question. As a young actor, I thought Stand by Me was really inspirational. All the kids did an amazing job, especially since the impact of the movie depended on the strength of their acting. While watching the BTS, I saw the director speak about making the kids cry so the train scene would be scarier. From this, I learned that the quality of a movie comes before the actor’s comfort. Now, when I’m working on a project, I see my place and my contribution as a piece of the whole. To answer the second part of your question, my favorite movie has to be either Titanic or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I think that Titanic is great because it combines history and fiction so well. And I cried! As for Harry, I mean, who doesn’t love magic? I think that the movies do a great job at translating the books into a visual art form. It’s just so cool!
Being away from your family for long periods of time is difficult, so how do you cope?
Our family tries to get together as often as possible. My little brother is with us for every school break . . . he’s here for the whole summer right now. My dad visits as often as he can, and we always spend a bunch of time together over the holidays, either in Hawaii or in California. I’m okay with it, because this is so important to me . . . but I know my mom would rather have us all together. I’m so thankful for the sacrifices my family is making to support me.
What do you like best about acting?
I enjoy telling stories through my emotions, and being a different being than what I am being in real life (I have a lot to learn about writing). But seriously, I do love to step into another person’s shoes.
Noah Wyle is quite a well-known actor who portrays your dad on the show. How is it working with him?
Well, Noah was very much a father and mentor on set. He’s a dad, so he knew how to treat me like a son. He also helped me do things to make a scene more believable. For instance, in the scene where he was dragging the skitter on the floor; he had a big gash on his head. Noah asked me to imagine what I would feel like if I saw my own father with an injury like that, and it made the scene much more realistic. When his kids came to visit he was always very playful with them, and made sure to include me in the fun. One time when my mom wasn’t looking, he showed me how to take apart and re-assemble his gun. Maybe I’ll get to use that knowledge in the second season, hehe. I can’t wait to see him again when I go back for season two. I learned so much from him. And not just about guns!
How is it working on the set of Falling Skies?
The set was great, and everyone treated each other like family. But it was also very fun to run around Toronto, going to every tourist attraction we could find. My brother and father came all the way from Hawaii for a vacation to Niagara Falls. That was pretty fun.
What can we expect from your character Matt Mason as the series progresses?
I don’t want to give out any spoilers, of course, but watch for Matt to continue finding creative ways to contribute to the mission . . . and just like a regular kid, I get into some trouble with my dad.
The series portrays your character as still very innocent. As the series continues, do you think his innocence will be maintained despite the situation?
Yes, I am as innocent as I can be in this very violent and terrifying world. My dad works really hard to protect me as much as possible from the ugliness . . . but you know, he’s not always over my shoulder, so I do manage to sort of strike out on my own in a way.
Can the audience of Falling Skies expect any “Matt Mason” centered episodes?
Well, the pilot was actually my “big” episode. And I’m really proud of that, that the people at TNT and DreamWorks felt that having the audience see so much Matt in the very first episode would be a good thing! And of course, there are so many really talented actors in the show, and their characters have such great stories to tell, so I’m very happy to just be there for a hug with my Dad or a bonding scene with my brothers. Speaking of that, you will see a really great scene in the next episode. It was probably my favorite scene that I shot out of the post-pilot episodes.
Any advice for young aspiring actors or actresses?
Sure, I would like to tell them that to get started in this business, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it just matters how devoted you are and how hard you are willing to work.