Portland actor recalls sharing stage with Nic Cage in 'Pig'
"It felt like a tango," Lake Oswego resident David Knell recalled of sitting face-to-face with award-winning actor Nicolas Cage on the set of the new movie, "Pig."
Knell acted as Chef Derek Finway in the drama, which released July 16.
"We had this mutual respect in that moment, like, 'this is going to be fun,'" Knell said. "This is going to be a dance."
Knell — a lifelong actor who can be seen in 1980s films "Spring Break," "Turner & Hooch" and "Total Recall" — had the opportunity to act in a 10-page scene in "Pig," which is featured in the trailer for the movie.
Knell said this was one of his largest roles and after attending the premiere in Los Angeles last week, he thought it was a beautiful film.
"I'm really, really pleased to have gotten the chance to play with them and with Nic," he said. "We shot this a year and half ago, almost two years ago."
Knell has been acting since he was a child. From community theater to TV, movies and shows on Broadway, he's had a variety of acting experiences over the years.
Knell remembers when he received the phone call from his agent in the summer of 2019. He was in Michigan with his wife and fellow actress, Julie, and they were planning to help folks with marketing and caring for a hotel. The trip was cut short and on a road trip he received the call saying the film was happening.
"If the job in Michigan had gone well, I wouldn't have been able to do it, so I'm super pleased that was the disaster that it was," he said.
In the movie, Cage plays a man who was a top chef in Portland years before he became a truffle hunter in the Oregon wilderness. When his foraging pig goes missing, he returns to Portland to find who stole his pig.
Cage later comes in contact with Knell's character — the current top chef in Portland who formerly worked for Cage's character.
"It's just a beautifully written scene," Knell said. "I haven't seen all of Nick Cage's films. There's some I am a big fan of … I literally googled 'What is it like to work with Nic Cage?'"
Knell said he watched interviews of other actors describing their experiences with Cage and learned that every choice Cage makes in his acting is "deliberate and thought out and passionate," he said. "I really earned a respect for him just from that."
Even though Knell's part only consisted of one day of filming, he said it was very special and was his favorite day of acting.
Unfortunately, a few days after he finished filming, he received a phone call that his dad was dying of cancer.
Knell said he flew to New York to be with his father in the hospital. He was able to share acting stories and his most recent experience on the set of "Pig" with his dad, Dane — who also was an actor.
"He would remember things he hadn't talked about in a while," Knell said. "I'm a fourth-generation actor and I'd forgotten that recently until my dad on his deathbed at one point said, 'Did I ever tell you about my grandfather's vaudeville act?'"
Knell, who splits his time living in Lake Oswego and on the Oregon coast, also enjoys traveling, kayaking and exploring the outdoors with his wife.
If other acting opportunities present themselves, he says he'll be available.
"When you're a character actor, the ideal situation is when someone … picks up a script and goes, 'That's the David Knell part.' It helps if you're David Knell, obviously," he said. "This could not have been more of the David Knell part."
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