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

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