Want to ‘Get Swole’? Try the Templar Knight Workout, Suggests Knightfall Star Tom Cullen

Downton Abbey alum explains how new History series about the quest for the Holy Grail gave him a Kim Kardashian–like booty.

by | December 3, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by History)

If you’re looking to get fit, Tom Cullen, star of History’s Knightfall, has a suggestion for you: wear chain mail.

The actor stars as Landry, leader of the Knights Templar, in the newest scripted drama from the network home of Vikings — which meant wearing 50 pounds of armor nearly daily for the better part of a year.

“I didn’t want to weigh the costume early on, because otherwise it would just become a thing in my head. I have weighed it since and it has become a thing in my head,” Cullen, who played Lord Gillingham in Downton Abbey, told Rotten Tomatoes. “The costume weighed 50 pounds, which is a lot to be carrying for 14, 15 hours a day when you’re fighting and riding horses. My body changed shape. I went from fit and kind of slender to muscular and big, just from the fact that I was carrying this amount of weight, this heavy costume.

“I couldn’t even get on a horse when I first started,” he confessed. “I had to have a stepladder because I didn’t have the power in my legs to get over the horse. But by the end of the shoot, I was leaping and running and jumping on horses. It was intense.”

So if you want to “get swole,” try the Chain Mail Workout!

“It’s where you wear 50 pounds of chain mail for seven months, every day, 15 hours a day,” Cullen said. “That’s all you have to do. And you’ll end up [muscular]. I’ve had to go to my wardrobe and buy all new trousers because my ass is so big. Honestly, if you want an ass like Kim Kardashian, become a knight.”

(Photo by History)

Knightfall takes place in the 1300s and follows the Knights Templar as they hunt to recover the Holy Grail in the final days of their reign, ahead of their eventual downfall. The series was shot in Eastern Europe on a Prague backlot — “they built medieval Paris, they built a temple, a palace, streets, a market, a moat, castle walls, a church, shops, alleyways, a pub — it was extraordinary,” Cullen said. The show tackles the later days of the Knights Templar’s reign of power.

“They were such a fascinating, clandestine sect,” Cullen said. “That the myriad of lies and layers that they bathed themselves in — it’s very difficult to unpack all of that. It was fascinating to learn about them. It was a real educational process for me.”

While, like most people, Cullen had a working knowledge of the group, he learned a lot while simply researching for his role.

“One of the things that really stuck with me was that they invented to first bank,” he said. “They created the banking system, and they created the first checks. They became the wealthiest fighting force in the world. And they answered to no country, no king, no queen. They only answered to God and to the Pope. No borders. You could cash your money in France, and you could take it out in Jerusalem. They were kind of untouchable. Fascinating guys. The thing that really surprised me was the level of their power. You learn about how they were in the battlefield. They were extraordinary. They would never leave. Even if they were losing, they would never turn their back and run. They would basically only surrender when the last man had been killed. That level of bravery and intelligence is an extraordinary combination, I think.”

(Photo by History)

Cullen’s character, Landry, was taken in by the Knights Templar as a 10-year-old orphan.

“All he’s known is war, fighting, and God. When we first see him in episode 1, he’s a very brash young maverick knight who ultimately loses the Holy Grail and loses Acre, the last stronghold in the Holy Land, which is the one thing that he understands himself through. The series is set 15 years after that event, and we find him questioning everything about himself. He’s questioning his faith and his own identity. He’s a very contradictory, very complex character. He is lying to his brothers. He’s having an affair with a woman. But he is immensely loyal. He is maybe the most fearless, brave knight. Yet he is starting to discover his own humanity and his mortality. He is a very pious man and is still a very faithful man, yet he is starting to discover who he is outside of his brotherhood.”

Yes, that’s right — there’s still plenty of sex on this show about religious monks, and Landry’s dedication to the Knights Templar only wavers when his chastity vow is involved.

“He’s very faithful to her,” Cullen said. “He’s a one-woman kind of guy.”

Except he’s supposed to be a no-woman kind of guy.

Added Cullen, “He’s a very complex guy, which is the kind of guy I’m interested in watching.”

The season will include major developments about Landry’s love — in the first episode, even — but his relationship will take a back seat to his main quest: to recover the Holy Grail.

“Landry goes on a pathological hunt to try and find the Grail, because I think that he entwines a lot of his own identity into that piece of pottery,” Cullen said. “I think that he hopes to find it not only to garner enough power to go back to the Holy Land, which is what he thinks that he should be doing, but also to return himself back to who he was — search for his identity before he became this very complex guy. What’s great is that on the way, we see his life fall apart, and as he discovers more about himself, he discovers more about the people around him and the lies that are entwined around his whole life and his whole existence.”

Knightfall premieres Wednesday, December 6 at 10 p.m. on History.

Tag Cloud

SDCC PaleyFest stoner Cosplay leaderboard cinemax Cartoon Network Classic Film heist movie Lifetime Christmas movies NYCC Adult Swim quibi Tomatazos Shudder deadpool Musicals TCA Premiere Dates A24 discovery Black Mirror Focus Features Awards crossover young adult TCA Winter 2020 Schedule Captain marvel name the review biography thriller YouTube popular sopranos live event CBS The Walking Dead superhero Rom-Com 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ITV FOX 99% miniseries sequels 2015 SundanceTV genre live action sports football rotten BBC America comic books venice vs. Song of Ice and Fire PBS basketball composers National Geographic screenings romance reboot boxoffice See It Skip It Lucasfilm south america trailers Watching Series Disney Plus Neflix WarnerMedia cars IFC Country TCA Awards Christmas gangster 79th Golden Globes Awards supernatural Red Carpet Thanksgiving green book television South by Southwest Film Festival comics VOD NBA Paramount critics Funimation black comedy Nominations Image Comics mutant Sci-Fi TCA 2017 El Rey USA Paramount Pictures SXSW 2022 Pet Sematary 2020 video zero dark thirty archives Amazon Studios Trailer free movies crime drama a nightmare on elm street Fox Searchlight aapi Music razzies Netflix jurassic park war History telelvision 007 ABC Signature Comic-Con@Home 2021 Trivia book X-Men boxing Spring TV chucky remakes target YouTube Premium kaiju trophy 4/20 documentaries Biopics ABC Family Mindy Kaling Disney streaming service Photos based on movie YouTube Red TLC American Society of Cinematographers BET Heroines mob rt labs mission: impossible The Arrangement action-comedy RT History Crackle Pacific Islander Film Festival disaster nfl 73rd Emmy Awards Summer cancelled TV series Reality worst movies Ovation CNN Pride Month revenge dexter fast and furious adventure monster movies PlayStation richard e. Grant Opinion sitcom medical drama new star wars movies dark universal monsters theme song Universal Pictures biopic CBS All Access franchise 90s Marathons sag awards Pixar rotten movies we love Amazon Prime Video TV One vampires Best Actress Toys DC Universe FXX 24 frames comiccon Drama E! joker Winners Set visit natural history Calendar cults Grammys space Martial Arts Disney YA werewolf twilight zombies cops LGBTQ christmas movies harry potter AMC Plus anime series australia scary movies Writers Guild of America Rocketman hispanic heritage month Lifetime Marvel New York Comic Con posters period drama ID game show black scene in color Quiz teaser Epix suspense A&E Alien Rocky HBO Go indie Emmy Nominations HBO Max prank Syfy Valentine's Day cartoon Polls and Games doctor who Bravo Comics on TV laika olympics fresh Fall TV Exclusive Video singing competition Holidays obi wan independent dreamworks pirates of the caribbean San Diego Comic-Con APB 93rd Oscars Travel Channel NBC police drama The Academy streamig Film toy story Kids & Family debate psychological thriller DC streaming service Turner Classic Movies animated Rock Cannes transformers Wes Anderson travel hispanic Podcast Women's History Month dragons Best and Worst Election 21st Century Fox Discovery Channel spanish language Logo cancelled TV shows scary Amazon international hollywood talk show comedies Super Bowl hidden camera Baby Yoda blockbusters critic resources emmy awards CW Seed sequel DC Comics directors spy thriller 2021 witnail Certified Fresh Nat Geo BBC art house Fargo lord of the rings Spike dogs WGN Sundance spain Chernobyl IFC Films 20th Century Fox Netflix Christmas movies Endgame Crunchyroll dc Paramount Plus social media Awards Tour Amazon Prime ESPN Starz Hallmark strong female leads BET Awards Marvel Studios Character Guide Elton John Mystery Legendary stand-up comedy book adaptation HFPA royal family political drama japan Fantasy ABC aliens 2017 President USA Network Turner Pop cancelled TIFF Interview high school slashers Dark Horse Comics politics renewed TV shows halloween Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Witch RT21 Teen FX MSNBC marvel comics dceu movie MGM casting unscripted The Walt Disney Company rt labs critics edition GIFs Mary Poppins Returns Reality Competition interviews 71st Emmy Awards Comic Book king arthur Universal true crime saw MCU women cats crime thriller Binge Guide HBO Pirates breaking bad know your critic Mary poppins comic book movie Family 72 Emmy Awards Animation First Look technology Columbia Pictures zombie legend binge 2019 science fiction Sundance Now french james bond TV movies romantic comedy Sony Pictures Showtime dramedy parents Disney+ Disney Plus Action batman concert japanese italian Best Actor jamie lee curtis AMC spider-verse Apple TV+ Best Picture Comedy ratings 45 Apple SXSW Paramount Network The CW TNT MTV docuseries award winner VH1 wonder woman Mudbound Tarantino scorecard Stephen King video on demand what to watch OWN festival Oscars child's play game of thrones crime Brie Larson Infographic spinoff diversity serial killer Extras movies all-time stop motion slasher 94th Oscars children's TV Vudu TBS festivals versus docudrama films Hulu Trophy Talk The Purge halloween tv adenture CMT 2016 Avengers golden globe awards Apple TV Plus Pop TV superman Tokyo Olympics die hard rom-coms TV renewals psycho E3 Emmys godzilla kids broadcast blockbuster Creative Arts Emmys tv talk Disney Channel OneApp DGA canceled GoT Year in Review documentary Britbox new york Countdown historical drama Video Games ghosts Nickelodeon Prime Video BAFTA Tumblr Winter TV IMDb TV streaming movies marvel cinematic universe cooking First Reviews 2018 Oscar Fox News TV mockumentary Sneak Peek asian-american anthology nbcuniversal Ellie Kemper Musical Best Director Ghostbusters king kong best new zealand Superheroe Warner Bros. kong Tubi nature rt archives summer TV preview golden globes Lionsgate Acorn TV Holiday robots toronto Hear Us Out finale Hollywood Foreign Press Association Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Box Office Star Wars Superheroes indiana jones GLAAD Esquire obituary LGBT FX on Hulu Television Academy BBC One Masterpiece spider-man news ViacomCBS Black History Month Tags: Comedy cancelled television Sundance TV worst Walt Disney Pictures Western latino Academy Awards Star Trek VICE Instagram Live justice league Shondaland Comedy Central Hallmark Christmas movies criterion Peacock comic summer preview blaxploitation screen actors guild streaming canceled TV shows 1990s Spectrum Originals facebook Food Network foreign Anna Paquin mcc hist summer TV spanish TCM satire Freeform Arrowverse comic book movies adaptation Broadway Marvel Television Mary Tyler Moore elevated horror Television Critics Association feel good TruTV classics Horror reviews DirecTV TV Land