He’ll always be known to fans as Newman, Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis and the mischievous postal worker on the iconic 90s sitcom Seinfeld.
But while his role on the “show about nothing” brought Wayne Knight fame and recognition, the actor says that being typecast as Newman actually destroyed his film career.
While the character of Newman is undeniably one of the most memorable from the series, Knight believes that the role had a significant impact on his subsequent career in film.
In a candid conversation for VICE, Knight expressed that being part of such an iconic show and being so closely associated with a character like Newman made it challenging for him to transition into other roles.
He stated, “It practically obliterated my film career in some ways…because by being on something that iconic and being that known for that character, it made it much more difficult as a character actor to disappear into film.”
Knight’s concerns revolve around the idea that casting directors and audiences might struggle to separate him from his character, Newman.
This association could potentially disrupt the immersive experience of a film if viewers are constantly reminded of Seinfeld’s Newman.
Despite these challenges, Knight has managed to secure roles in major films such as “Jurassic Park,” “Basic Instinct,” and “Space Jam.”
Although he feels that his film career isn’t as robust as it was during the 90s, he continues to work in both television and film.
After the 90s, Wayne Knight’s career primarily consisted of television roles and voice work. While he did have roles in films, a significant portion of his work post-90s was in television series and voice acting for animated shows and movies.
Some notable roles included his stint as Officer Don in “3rd Rock from the Sun” (1996-2001) and voicing characters in “Toy Story 2” and “Tarzan” in 1999. He appeared in “CSI: NY” (2006), “Punisher: War Zone” (2008), and “The Exes” (2011-2015).
In 2016, he had a role in “Hail, Caesar!” and voiced characters in “Kung Fu Panda 3.” One of his recent projects includes the Hulu original movie “Darby and the Dead.”
“Seinfeld” remains a beloved classic, even years after its conclusion in 1998. The show’s enduring popularity means that many of its characters, including Newman, will remain in the public consciousness for years to come.
While Knight has built a successful career post-Seinfeld, the shadow of Newman will likely always be a part of his legacy.