Name: Corey Knight
Hometown: East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Now Lives: A one-bedroom apartment in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn.
Claim to Fame: A classically trained dancer and former teenage football player, Corey Knight is now flexing his acting muscles in Hollywood. He plays a young paratrooper stationed at an Italian military base in Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age mini-series “We Are Who We Are,” which premieres on HBO on Sept. 14.
Mr. Knight still can’t fathom that he was able to work with Mr. Guadagnino, the storied Italian director behind the film adaptation of “Call Me by Your Name.” “Trust and believe, I did not think that I would end up on that man’s radar at all,” he said. “I certainly did not think that he would find this kid from Flatbush and say, ‘Hey man, be part of my gorgeous show.’”
Big Break: A severe football injury in the eighth grade forced Mr. Knight to rethink the very idea of physical performance. At 14, he began competing in hip-hop dance competitions at Brooklyn churches, often taking home first place. “I didn’t drop it low, but there was a lot of popping and locking at the time,” he said.
His dance floor talents led him to classes at Moving Mountains, a community-based theater company in Brooklyn founded by the actor Jamie Hector. “Jamie introduced me to acting and made me realize, ‘Oh, yeah, this is something I just have to take with me forever,’” he said.
Latest Project: “We Are Who We Are” was largely shot on location in Vicenza, a picturesque medieval city in northeastern Italy. The series was Mr. Knight’s first-ever trip to the region. “Italy is just like a big painting — one large piece of art that was crafted by some of the greatest artists of all time,” he said. “As you’re walking through the streets, you have no choice but to just stop and stare.”
Next Thing: This fall, he will appear alongside Patrick Decile (“Moonlight”) in “Not Black Enough,” a film written and directed by Jermaine Manigault that explores young Black male adolescence. “It feels personal to me,” he said.
Mountain Climber: In something of a full-circle moment, Mr. Knight now moonlights as a mentor for young actors at Moving Mountains. “At the end of the day, as an inner-city kid we always want to have a good image to look up to,” he said. “And, you know, I want to be that person.”