Seinfeld is packed with iconic characters, and Wayne Knight’s Newman is definitely near the top of the stack. However, this iconic status comes at a price. In a Vice interview with Twitter user and Internet radio personality Seinfeld2000, Knight said, “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.”
In addition to being on Seinfeld, Wayne Knight is a fantastic character actor who has many other famous roles. However, it’s easy to see why a casting director might automatically associate him with Newman and second-guess casting him during the process. Since he was so well-known for the role, you risk the audience automatically making the Newman connection and losing the immersion in the film.
Fortunately, many casting directors were able to look past the Seinfeld connection, and Wayne Knight has been in major films like Jurassic Park, Basic Instinct, Space Jam, and more. While his film career isn’t quite at its 90s peak anymore, Knight is still doing plenty of work as a TV and film actor. Most recently, he appeared in the Hulu original movie Darby and the Dead.
Seinfeld is such an enduring classic sitcom that it has managed to maintain its popularity many years after ending in 1998. The series is available to stream in full on Netflix and still gets plenty of people tuning in, with many looking to rewatch the series and many from the new generation discovering it for the first time. While Wayne Knight has carved out a successful career after the sitcom, he’ll definitely be well-known as Newman for many years to come.