Friday, April 20, 2018

Local man's role 'Natural' for movie

For Zack Knight, playing in a movie was a unique and uplifting experience, but being part of a film about baseball was … well, very natural.

Zack Knight snaps a
selfie in his dressing room.
Knight, 23, grew up in Marion and now lives in Hopkinsville. He was part of the cast for “The Silent Natural,” a full-length feature movie recently filmed in western Kentucky, which traces the life and legacy of William "Dummy" Hoy.

Hoy was one of the first deaf Major League Baseball players in the 1800s. He is credited for having introduced hand signals for out, safe and strike to the game as he overcame obstacles to become one of the greatest players of his time.

Knight got a role in the film – which was shot in Dawson Springs and Bowling Green among other locations – through a “friend of a friend of his mom’s.”

“I started out just to be an extra,” Knight explained, but through a twist of fate, one of the ball players in a key role ended up being let go by the producer.

“Literally 24 hours before my first day on set, I got a text message saying they were going to give me a role in the baseball scenes. My character was a pitcher and shortstop.”

Knight played four years of high school baseball for the Rockets before graduating from Crittenden County High School in 2013.

“I hadn’t thrown in a long time, but in this scene, I had to throw to the catcher. It was pretty bad at first, but I finally settled down a bit and made it work.”

Knight said some of the baseball scenes are true action shots, but much of the movie will include digital enhancements where the ball can be put into play as the director sees fit.

“It was crazy. I can’t even explain what it was like to be there on the set. For a guy from Crittenden County to wake up one day in a popular movie … it’s just insane.”

Knight’s character goes by the name of Krock. He befriends Hoy and defends the deaf player when others on the ball club start to pick at him.

Hoy is in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, but the movie’s director David Risotto has told many that he thinks Hoy is owed a place in Cooperstown, the National Hall of Fame. Hoy played for the Washington Nationals, Buffalo Bisons, Louisville Colonels and Cincinnati Reds, among several others in a career lasting from 1888 to 1902.

Several big named stars are cast in the movie. You can read more about Knight and the movie in the April 12 printed edition of The Crittenden Press.

Knight is second to the coach's right in
this photo. Barry Livingston portrays the coach.
Livingston was a star in the TV series
My Three Sons in the 1960s.