Movies & TV / Columns

Jeff J. Knight on Starring In His New Film Automation, Playing a Killer Robot

September 8, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Jeff J. Knight


Jeff J. Knight is an actor and cosplayer who appears in the terrific sci-fi horror comedy Automation, now available in a brand new special features laden Blu-ray from Epic Pictures (purchase it here). In Automation, Knight plays “Auto,” the soon to be obsolete worker robot that decides it doesn’t want to be shut down. In this interview, Knight talks with this writer about making Automation, working with director Garo Setian, what it was like to perform wearing the Auto robot suit, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Automation?

Jeff J. Knight: My buddy “Evil” Ted Smith designed the robot costume and knew that we were about the same size so he called me one day and asked me if I wanted to play a killer robot. When the one and only “Evil” Ted asks you if you want to play a killer robot, there is only one answer.

BK: How did you approach your character, the robot Auto? Was the Auto suit/costume confining in any way?

JJK: The suit itself was very light and I had plenty of movement. The bulk of it is made from EVA foam which is lightweight and pliable. I had the opportunity to spend about a week practicing before we shot with the actual robot suit. You should have seen me running around Pasadena dressed as a robot, it was awesome!


BK: Was it difficult interacting with the other cast members while wearing the full Auto suit/costume? Were you able to even see out of the Auto helmet?

JJK: Actually the most uncomfortable part of the entire costume was the helmet. It was the one thing that couldn’t be made completely out of foam and light weight. There are electronics, some LED lights and even some metal parts at the eyes. Just like Dolly Parton the helmet was a little top-heavy.

BK: Did you have to memorize Auto’s lines?

JJK: I did all the onset acting and interacted with my costars as Auto most of the time. We had a blast.

BK: Did you collaborate at all with Jim Tasker, who performs the voice of Auto?

JJK: The “Auto” performance is a combination of two people giving everything they have and I did not meet Jim until the movie premiere.

BK: What was it like working with director Garo Setian?

JJK: Working with Garo was amazing, plain and simple. There was no ego, no attitude and the vibe onset was one of complete collaboration and inclusion. He may have been a first time director, but he had a very strong vision.

BK: What sort of input, if any, did you have on the creation of the Auto suit/costume?

JJK: “Evil” Ted Smith made the entire suit, we did some custom fittings to make it suit me better but he designed the entire thing. My only contribution to the suit itself was a pair of sneakers we turned into robot feet.

BK: What was the hardest scene for you, as an actor, in Automation?

JJK: Unfortunately I got really sick during the filming of the movie and had to do it with a horrible fever. I was sneezing and coughing constantly between takes in the helmet. My ”big” scene with actress Sarah French was probably my hardest to film because I was so sick.


BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

JJK: I would say Kevin Smith and Stanley Kubrick are the best at what they do.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can reveal?

JJK: Nothing at the moment in my calendar. Seems to be wide open. So get @ me casting directors!!!

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Automation?

JJK: An hour and a half of pure fun and escapism, that’s all it is meant to be. And what a perfect time for it!

BK: Would you want to appear in an Automation 2?

JJK: Where do I sign up!?!

BK: Would you want to live/work with a robot like Auto in real life?

JJK: Absolutely. I love technology and computers so I am all for advancing robotics. Of course it has to be done in a responsible manner. The future is coming and we can’t slow it down so we might as well embrace it.



A very special thanks to Jeff J. Knight for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

You can purchase the brand new Automation Blu-ray here.

Check out the official Epic Pictures website here and official Facebook page here.

Check out my review of Automation here.

Check out Jeff J. Knight’s Facebook page here.

Jeff J. Knight image courtesy Jeff J. Knight’s Facebook page. All other images courtesy of Epic Pictures.