The Knights on putting Norwich on the map in Fighting With My Family
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Louisa Baldwin chats to the Knight wrestling family from Norwich at their city centre wrestling school as a film based on their lives is released in cinemas.
Fighting With My Family follows the Knights as they build a successful wrestling business and children Zak and Saraya-Jade, known professionally as Paige, as they tryout for WWE.
Whilst Paige is selected and goes onto huge success, brother Zak is unsuccessful and must tackle the rejection whilst also trying to support his sister and find his own path.
The producer of the film is Hollywood heavyweight Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson who decided to make the film after watching a 2012 documentary on the Knight family whilst in a hotel in London.
He then enlisted Stephen Merchant, best known for his work on The Office and Extras, as the director and the cast includes Nick Frost at dad Ricky, Florence Pugh, who recently starred in Lady Macbeth, as Paige and Lena Headey as mum Julia.
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Scenes for the film were shot in Norwich Market, Mousehold Heath and Great Yarmouth seafront and it is as much a celebration of Norfolk as it is about following your dreams.
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What is Fighting With My Family about?
Ricky: Obviously it's a wrestling movie but it is about the rise of our daughter Paige to WWE.
The other side of the story is about our son Zak who didn't make it and had trials at the same time so it is a yin and yang film really.
Roy [Saraya and Zak's older brother]: The difference between her and the other girls in America is she is actually a wrestler so when she went over there she knew what she was doing whereas the other girls were models and just good-looking girls.
She comes from a wrestling background so was always going to do well when she got her opportunity.
Do you think the actors did a good job portraying the Knight family?
Julia: I thought all the actors portrayed every member of our family perfectly to the point that we got lost in the movie.
Zak: They captured what we're all about – we are a family that has a shared bond and interest in making British wrestling a success and moving WAW [World Association of Wrestling] forward and we all share the same dream and that came across really well in the movie.
You can see just how close the family is and that we're all pulling in the same direction and that is what makes us stand out.
Why do you think your story attracted the attention of The Rock?
Ricky: A lot of people out there will remember the old musical days when someone could get on stage and have you eating out the palm of their hand - you can make them cry, you can make them laugh and boo and cheer and I have the power to do this.
It's an art that is very hard to teach you've either got it or you haven't, you can teach them all the skills of the ring but to have that audience out your hand is another thing and that is something we've all got.
Julia: We're lucky the whole family has got an edge and we all bring something different to the table.
We all excel in path we've chosen and that is a huge tip of hat to the boss man.
Without it being his dream it can't become our dream and all we've done is reinforced what he has shown us and how he's taught us.
All credit to the Knight family has to go to Rick.
Why should people go and see the film?
Zak: You should watch Fighting With My Family as it's a real inspirational story and tells you if you've got a dream and work hard enough then you can achieve anything no matter what your background is or where you're from.
What was it like to see Norwich on the big screen?
Ricky: In this business we've travelled all over the world but we're always so glad to get home to Norwich.
Whatever people say about it, it's a lovely city and we get overlooked all the time.
We have a lot of talented people in Norwich from the football team to the wrestlers, dart players, boxers and this movie is going to be right in people's faces – the Cathedral spire in their eyes even in America.
Julia: There is nothing they can do, Norwich is now firmly on the map.
Fighting With My Family is in cinemas nationwide now.