July 3, 2012
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TV Show: Sinbad

Elliot Knight knows Sinbad's bad luck
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Elliot Knight as Sinbad. (Supplied)

Sinbad is gettin' screwed.

Having seen the first episode of the new British fantasy-adventure series Sinbad, which debuts across Canada Sunday, July 8 on Space, how could we conclude otherwise?

"Tough love, man, tough love," said Elliot Knight, the actor who plays the legendary sailor Sinbad, with a big laugh. "That's the way it is for Sinbad, that's how he rolls.

"It's interesting you say that, because no one ever has said that before. But I guess, yeah, that's the way it is."

Not to reveal specifics, but in the first episode something occurs that puts Sinbad -- a happy-go-lucky street thief in his home town of Basra -- at odds with the powerful Lord Akbari, played by Naveen Andrews (best known as Sayid on Lost). Notably, the incident in question transpired between two willing participants, and the end result was an unfortunate accident.

Nonetheless, when Lord Akbari exacts brutal revenge upon Sinbad, how does Sinbad's grandmother react? Well, the punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that Sinbad's grandma had no problem living off the proceeds of his petty illegal activity before things got complicated. Good lord, she's the worst grandmother in the world.

"I know, it's a bit harsh, isn't it?" said Knight, laughing again. "But that is the world we're trying to set and it's important for us to get that established as soon as possible.

"At the end of the day, Sinbad is a nice guy. Yeah, he's a bit cocky. But he takes responsibility for the people he cares about. Unfortunately in his position in the society that he's in, he can't work, he can't just go and get a job, so he does what he has to do.

"In a sense that's kind of like the situation for a lot of people nowadays, and that's why we hope it relates to a modern audience. It's not always a 'fantasy fantasy.' We've got a bit of reality in ours."

As you may know from the centuries-old Sinbad tales, as well as multiple depictions in film and TV, the title character leaves Basra and sets sail, bound for a lifetime of adventure. While Knight watched some of the previous Sinbad movies, he insisted this is a brand new take.

"We haven't done a copy of the Hollywood films," Knight said. "It isn't Sinbad having these adventures and doing these things for no particular reason. We have real people with emotional drive."

Amazingly, this is Knight's first professional acting job.

"I was someone who was still in drama school, who hadn't done any professional work before, so I was not in the running in my head," Knight said. "I just thought I'd get some audition experience.

"Then suddenly I was off to Malta (where Sinbad was filmed)."

Knight and Sinbad are similar in that way. One day their lives changed and they were travelling to distant lands.

"We're both underdogs," Knight said.

At least Knight went willingly, rather than because of the world's worst grandmother.




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