April 20, 2024
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Teaneck Actress Dalya Knapp Is Now a Movie Star

Dalya Knapp is not your average Orthodox 12-year-old. The middle schooler, who lives in Teaneck, has been acting for half her life, beginning at the age of 6 with a “Les Miserables” Broadway tour and making her way to the screen with a regular role in the Paramount-Plus television series “Evil,” among other roles in various shows, most recently “Law & Order: SVU,” and “FBI: Most Wanted.” Now, Knapp has hit a major milestone: the premiere of her first feature film, “She Said,” which opens in theaters on November 18.

“She Said” explores the exposure of allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which were brought to light by New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. In the movie, Knapp portrays Kantor’s daughter, Talia—an emotional role within a heavy story. Though Knapp may not find herself in the midst of a scandal like her character in “She Said,” the young actress shared that she has found Talia to be a relatable role.

“The movie shows how hard it is for Talia to not have her mom with her,” Knapp said. “There’s a scene where it hits [Jodi] that she should be home and that her daughter needs her. Talia loves her mom. I love how their relationship is portrayed, and I definitely relate to that.” Knapp continued that Talia is depicted as video chatting with her mom every night. “I remember that right before COVID, my mom went away with my sister [Sophie], who was shooting a show at the time, and we always FaceTimed before bed. That part really brought back great memories for me.”

Knapp emphasized how important it was for the production team to have Talia create great chemistry with Jodi, played by Zoe Kazan, something that came naturally to her. “At my callback in New York, I was seated next to Zoe, so that [director] Maria Schrader could watch how I connected with her,” Knapp recalled. “We chatted, and I did some funny imitations of people, and it was really fun.” It was Knapp’s natural ability to click with Kazan that locked in this role, making Talia’s on screen relationship with her mother very organic.

When asked if filming “She Said” is different from her experience with “Evil,” in which she plays a young girl named Laura, Knapp explained that movie and television acting are pretty similar. However, she noted there is a major difference between the screen and the stage: “With filming, you do something different every single day. While I love theater too, I really like changing things up because it makes it fun for me.”

So, let’s just say that Knapp loves the screen—and the screen loves her. “I still find it shocking that I’ve done these amazing things,” Knapp said of her acting career. “It’s really cool that I’m on TV! All of these people are watching me, and that’s mind-blowing to think about.”

Even though Knapp has already accomplished such major feats at such a young age, she hopes that this is just the beginning. “In five years from now, I hope I’ll still be working and auditioning,” Knapp shared. “I really love being an actress. I don’t know how long ‘Evil’ will go on for, but I love doing that, and I hope I still get to do it.” Knapp elaborated that part of the reason she loves working on the set of “Evil” is because the production team has made a notable effort to take care of her, along with the other young actors on set. “Being an actor isn’t always easy, and it’s really nice to have someone to talk to, so ‘Evil’ brings in a therapist for us.” She continued that “every production cares about its kids,” up to and including providing a tutor on set so that students can keep up with their school work.

The question remains: How does Knapp maintain the social life typical of a 12-year-old? She explained that when she’s shooting something, she makes sure to keep in touch with her friends back home. She also noted that she’s been plenty social with her colleagues; “I like making friends on set,” Knapp said.

To celebrate the premiere of “She Said,” Knapp has invited all of her friends to a special screening of the film, followed by an exclusive panel discussion and Q&A. “I’m so excited…and knowing my family, they’re probably also planning something really big!”

“She Said” hits theaters on November 18.

By Channa Fischer

 

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