'Knightfall': Tom Cullen on 'Bold' Season 2 Finale and Who Landry Will 'Exact Revenge' on Next (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! Do not proceed if you haven't watched the season two finale of Knightfall!
Even Tom Cullen wasn't sure Landry would survive the season two finale of Knightfall.
The History series' epic second season came to a close on Monday night, with Landry (Tom Cullen) and the Knights Templar able to escape being burned alive at the hands of King Philip (Ed Stoppard). That's not to say all of them actually survived, however -- or that Philip did.
"At the end of episode seven, I was like, 'How the hell are we going to get out of this? Are we going to get out of this? Are there people who are going to die?'" Cullen tells ET of his reaction to the finale. "So, when I read the finale episode, I thought it was a really bold choice."
The unexpected return of Talus (Mark Hamill) to set his brothers free prompted a violent fight between the escaped Templars and the royal family, who was set on destroying them. A high-stakes several hours followed, seeing the heartbreaking deaths of Tancrede (Simon Merrells) and Sister Anne (Claire Cooper), who didn't make it on the Templars' stolen ship to escape. The fate of those surviving Templars, however, is also up in the air, after Landry returned for one final fight to the death with his enemy, Philip.
The pair's dream sequence battle in the season two premiere foreshadowed that only one would come out alive -- but after Landry killed his nemesis, what's left to fight for? In an exclusive interview with ET, Cullen opened up about Monday's sophomore closer and the questions that still linger.
ET: You broke your toes filming the first episode of this season -- I hope you made it through the last without any injuries.
Tom Cullen: No, I actually broke my finger on the last episode! I smashed up my knuckle. I'm looking at it now, and it's still f**ked. (Laughs) It was actually my own fault. I did it in a sword fight. Yeah, whoops!
Well, going into the finale, I wasn't sure you'd survive based on where we left the Templars in episode seven. You had previously said that the Templars would survive Friday the 13th, but I was surprised by how the season ended. How did you feel about it?
It's a really cool episode, and it almost feels like a bottle episode, because it only takes place over a handful of hours. And I think that it's an interesting way to end the season. The thing about the Templars is that in many ways, the story begins at their end. That's where the mythology starts, which is kind of exciting. I mean, having said that, they weren't dissolved in other countries like England for another eight years after [the events of the finale].
Not everyone makes it out alive. Talus is MIA again after saving the Templars, but what was the fate of Gawain (Pádraic Delaney) and the others who escaped on the ship with Landry, before he came back to fight Philip?
I actually don't know. Nobody knows what's happening to everybody else. It's a mystery even to me at this point. I think that's something that if there was a season three, we would explore.
Let's talk about that fight between Landry and Philip. It was such a big moment for your character and something that had been teased since last season. What went into shooting that confrontation?
I had an inkling that it was coming up because of the dream sequence in episode one. It opens the season, where Philip and Landry face off and Landry gets killed by Philip. So I actually thought that Landry was going to die. So, when I read those final moments in episode eight, I thought it was incredibly powerful, and like you said, it really does build up all the way to this point. It's been really well constructed by the writers, I think, as a crescendo to the final point, from the first scene to the last scene -- that's what it's all been geared towards.
In terms of preparation for the scene, it was really tough, actually, because Ed Stoppard, who plays the king, has become of my best friends in life. I love him, so it was actually really hard to kill him. I didn't want to say goodbye to him... We like to play, and ultimately we had a lot of fun. Because of scheduling, we only had a few hours to shoot it, so it was very, very fast and very quick and strangely unceremonious. You finish the scene, it's like, 'Alright, OK, we have to move on because we've got to get this other thing, this other thing... that's that then.' You kind of have to just jump on the treadmill and keep on going.
Does killing Philip give Landry closure?
Well, I don't think it's over for Landry. I think the Templars are still going to be hunted and rounded up, and I think that the Templars still have a lot of problems with, let's say the Pope, for example. He's betrayed the Templars more than anybody by going against God and his state, and becoming this puppet for Philip -- and I think the Templars feel like they need to exact revenge on him next. So, I don't think it feels like closure for him.
I suppose there's a certain chapter of his life that's closed, and he probably feels like his daughter is now relatively safe, at least for the time being. There's that really interesting dynamic with Louis (Tom Forbes) that's formed in the later episodes. It's quite fascinating, so I don't know how that will evolve and whether Louis will feel like he's made a mistake in allowing his father to die and will once again blame Landry for it. I don't know. I literally have no idea where it could go, which is exciting.
Was that final scene the hardest one to shoot this season?
It was a difficult one to pitch, because obviously Landry has been in the iron maiden, and they've all been tortured, so we were all trying to figured out how f**ked up we were throughout this. I had to do a lot of fighting, I had to manage to break back into the palace to kill the king, so it was very difficult to gauge where it was at. But the hardest thing is that it's winter in Prague and it's all exterior, so it gets to -10, -15, and initially, we were supposed to be just running around in our shirts...
I think the hard thing is you've been working for six months doing these really, really long days and it's the end of something, and so everyone is knackered and it's all night shoots, mostly, and it's cold. It's an amazing bonding experience. By that time, the actors and the crew, just everyone feels like they're really close-knit family, and you kind of all get through it together, you know? You have a nice few whiskeys at the end of work, try to warm yourself up.
We had a few additions to the Knightfall family this season, including Mark Hamill. Do you have any dream guest stars to join the show if season three gets picked up?
Oh my god! There's so many, Jesus! There are so many actors that I'd love to work with. It was so great having my brother (Joseph Ollman, who played an initiate) on the show this year. My sister (Ruth Ollman) is also an amazing actor, so we gotta get her on next! Yeah, there's only three of us, so we could create like a Holy Trinity of Knightfall.
Was your brother happy to have survived the season?
(Laughs) Yeah, because all of the initiates had been given a six-episode guarantee, so none of them knew whether they were going to survive past episode six... and we just get the scripts as they come in. We don't know how it's going to end, so we kind of find out what's happening as we shoot, much like the audience finds out as they're watching. So, no one knew if they were going to survive or not. It would have been really hard to say goodbye to my brother, and my brother, it's his first real job, so I think he was having a really great time, and he was relieved that he survived.
How did you celebrate the season? What's the first thing you ate after filming wrapped and you no longer had to keep up this knight body?
Well, the last episode actually, it was so cold, I just threw everything out the window, and in Prague, they have this amazing catering truck that's on set, and they house a fridge full of cheese sandwiches that you can put into a toaster and make a cheese toasty. And honestly, I think I was averaging about six cheese toasties a day. And loving it. It was awesome.
I'm so happy for you.
I was happy for me too.
To wrap up, what's your final takeaway from season two of Knightfall? What do you hope the fans get out of it?
I think it's such a fast-paced adrenaline ride and I want people to feel like they're fought for breath. There's a certain sense of resolution, but I think that the show is so -- the momentum of the show is so forward-facing that I hope people feel really excited for more story.