IGN.COM – If nothing else, director Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44 has put together an impeccable cast made up of Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman and Jason Clarke — and despite a hodgepodge of phlegmy Russian accents, each actor gives it his or her all in this Stalin-era crime-thriller. That said, as an adaptation of Rob Tom Smith’s 2008 novel, Child 44 doesn’t quite translate on screen, as drab storytelling and overstuffed plot take a lot of the steam out of its central mystery.
Set in 1953 Soviet Russia, the story follows Leo Demidov (Hardy), a prominent MGB agent who is disgraced when he refuses to denounce his wife Raisa (Rapace) as a traitor to their country. Exiled from Moscow to the muddy hinterlands, Leo and Raisa ally with General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman) to track down a serial killer who preys on young boys. However, their quest for justice directly opposes a system-wide cover-up enforced by Leo’s sadistic rival, Vasili (Kinnaman), who insists the childrens’ murders — all 44 of them — were “accidents.” As members the MGB recite over and over again, “There is no murder in paradise.”
THELOCAL.SE – Sweden’s hottest Hollywood star Joel Kinnaman is the latest name to emerge from a Wikileaks’ publication of over 170,000 internal Sony Pictures emails stolen in a massive hacker attack last year, alongside one of the Pirate Bay founders and information about the fourth book in the famous Swedish Millennium series.
Kinnaman rose to global fame playing the lead role in blockbuster Robocop last year. But an email posted in a searchable database by Wikileaks on Thursday shows that a massive row very nearly caused the Swedish actor to pull out of promoting the movie.
In an email chain going back and forth between Kinnaman and Sony employees, the actor accuses the entertainment giant of “amateur mistakes” after it published promotion pictures that showed a stunt double instead of the actor himself. When a Sony employee writes that Kinnaman had approved the images, the Swede replies: “That is simply not true. (…) The lack of responsibility taken in this email is infuriating. Yes, I approve images of ME, but I do not go through and approve images of my stunt double Dorian.”
He goes on to say that “it’s so disheartening to have images go out that we didn’t create as part of our story. So until this is rectified fully I’m not comfortable doing any more promotion”.
Whistleblower site Wikileaks published over 170,000 emails and 30,000 other documents in a searchable database on Thursday, following a hacker attack on Sony Pictures in November 2014. The cyber attack ended up costing the company upwards of $100 million and has been linked to a North Korean group calling itself Guardians of Peace.
Other email chains published on Thursday show the plot of the fourth book of Sweden’s famous Millennium series being discussed in detail as well as one of Sony’s top lawyers cheering after Fredrik Neij – one of the Swedish founders of controversial file-sharing site Pirate Bay – was captured on the Thailand-Laos border in November 2014 after four years on the run.
“They’ve arrested for extradition the third Pirate Bay founder. Huge win! Don’t know if hackers will retaliate,” the lawyer writes.
Sony has hit out at Wikileaks over the publication of the emails.
“The cyber attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on Wikileaks,” a Sony spokesperson said in a statement to American entertainment magazine Variety.
However, Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange – who is currently hiding in the Ecuador embassy in London for fear of being extradited to Sweden over rape allegations – said in a statement: “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain. Wikileaks will ensure it stays there.”
The Local has approached Joel Kinnaman and his Swedish agent for comment.
BACKSTAGE.COM – Just over a year ago, Joel Kinnaman was learning the hard way that no one knows anything in Hollywood. As the title character of Brazilian director José Padilha’s ambitious “RoboCop” reboot, Kinnaman was expecting to see his profile—already growing, thanks to his starring turn on AMC’s “The Killing”—elevated a notch at the film’s release. But then the Hollywood gods intervened. “ ‘RoboCop’ got hit by half the country being buried under a snowstorm that weekend,” he explains, the disappointment in his voice still palpable, between bites of a gourmet burger at Hollywood gastropub the Pikey. “I’m still proud of it.”
Kinnaman regrouped slightly and assessed his aims. “Things always fluctuate, and you’ve got to keep your eye on what you want to do and why. Then be patient and not sell yourself short. You can only control your work and remaining passionate about it. That’s the trick—and now everything is going really well. Even then, offers were already coming in.”
Three grabbed his attention: the action thriller “Run All Night,” opposite Liam Neeson; the heavily anticipated “Child 44,” out this week, based on a best-selling book by British writer Tom Rob Smith and starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman; and “The Bends” with Rosamund Pike (scheduling the pair is proving difficult).
Clearly, Kinnaman’s career is heating up to the degree that no one in the know is surprised that he replaced Hardy in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad.” Currently filming another thriller, “Backcountry,” in Canada, Kinnaman will immediately join the rest of the stellar cast: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Scott Eastwood, and Cara Delevingne.
In “Child 44,” he plays one of his least sympathetic characters yet. Set in Stalinist Russia in 1953, the film features Kinnaman as loyal Stalinist Vasili, capable of the most heinous acts and riddled with hatred for Leo Demidov (Hardy), who is trying to stop a serial killer of children against much resistance in Moscow.
“I was drawn to the idea of playing a sociopath,” Kinnaman says. “I really like those kind of roles, too. Often they are the bad guys but also some of the people you learn the most from playing. They are the ones that are usually the furthest from you. I loved working on the film. It felt like we were in summer camp; very intense, emotional summer camp. And then of course to work with Tom and Noomi and, most of all, Daniel [Espinosa] again—I love working with directors over and over again, that shorthand you build on a movie; you have it from the first day and it’s always there.”
Kinnaman and Espinosa, a fellow Swede, are close friends who have now worked together on three projects, including 2010’s Swedish film “Snabba Cash” (retitled “Easy Money” in the U.S.) and 2012’s “Safe House,” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.
Their shorthand, however, led to some consternation on the film’s set in Prague. “It was the very first day of shooting, with 20 extras and crew in a room. Daniel said something that pissed me off, in Swedish. Then we started having a big argument, screaming at each other, then he walked out and I walked out,” Kinnaman recalls. “Then we came back into the room and said, ‘Let’s go.’ We know each other very well. Arguments don’t bother us, and often when we work, we hardly have to talk.”
Rapace is a friend as well, and Kinnaman says she “may have done her best work in ‘Child 44.’ ” She speaks admiringly of his work in turn. “Joel’s acting is beautiful. Every take we did was different, exploring the scenes and the relationship together. I loved it.”
Before leaving for a set, the Kinnaman way is late nights and lots of them. “I read the script over and over. I read the book twice. It’s usually nights when I work on roles, when everything else is closed down,” he says. “Your mind quiets down a little bit because you’re tired. But I don’t go to bed and end up wandering around in my bedroom for four or five hours. All of a sudden it’s 6 in the morning and I probably have to go to work or shoot that day. But my imagination kicks in a lot more when I’m a little fatigued. The worst feeling I can have on set is too many coffees. That makes me present in the wrong way. If I’m tired, I can access everything in a much easier way. I sort of melt right into it.”
His current preparations sound even more exhausting—he films during the day, goes to the gym afterward, sleeps, and eats. “I hate food so much right now,” he grimaces. “I’m trying to look like a cartoon, so I’ve got to gain weight. I gained 28 pounds in eight weeks; I’m trying to do 10 more pounds. If you want to gain this much weight in a short period of time, you can’t eat clean. There’s a lot of mashed potatoes and hamburgers. I’m getting a little flabby.”
“Run All Night” was different again, a strategy Kinnaman admits is virtually his only one. “The culture I grew up in revered the actors who took very different roles. If I was ever so lucky as to have an audience that followed my work, my dream would be that they’d go to see a new film wondering, ‘What’s he going to do with this role?’ ”
Playing Neeson’s son was a dream scenario. “I will never forget his performance in ‘Schindler’s List.’ And ‘Run All Night’ was a beautiful, emotional script, but I did have some notes. My character, Mike, was too clean-cut for someone growing up with a known gangster and alcoholic father. That’s going to leave traces, built-up anger. They accepted my notes and I do feel they added dimension.” Neeson calls Kinnaman “a terrific, energetic actor and a lovely guy.” Kinnaman simply observed him in action. “Liam doesn’t complicate things unnecessarily; there is no chatter. You go in, do your job, and if you carry the conversation of the story inside of you, you don’t have to overthink things. That can be very powerful.”
Kinnaman first acted by chance as a child, and sees parallels with his older self. “My sister was dating Ingmar Bergman’s son, who was directing this Swedish soap opera. They needed a 10-year-old: I got the part and filmed for a year. I’ve since heard I was very opinionated then and was already rewriting my lines.” He didn’t act again until long after school, when he observed friends getting accepted to drama school and thought he might try it out as well, enlisting an older actor as his coach. “One time he looked at me and said, ‘You could really do this if you want.’ And I felt that, too. It was the first time I felt that I might actually be good at something.”
Thanks so much to Lindsey for the heads up. Joel is featured in the new issue of Glamour for the May edition and I have added the HQ scan to the gallery. So go check it out if you havent seen it already. Hopefully a photoshoot follows soon.
BOSTONHERALD.COM – NEW YORK — As a sadistic Communist cop in the Russian-set thriller “Child 44,” Joel Kinnaman tackles yet another morally questionable character.
The Sweden native first came to fame here as Stephen Holder, the street-smart, ex-addict detective in “The Killing,” which ended its four-season run last year.
He has since starred as the tortured machine in the “Robocop” remake and last month as Liam Neeson’s estranged son in “Run All Night.”
“I know there are some actors who have some strategy about their careers, and they want to be ‘stars,’ ” Kinnaman, 35, told the Herald.
“When they find something the audience connects with it’s, ‘That’s a perfect role for me.’ They hone that thing to do it over and over again,
“I find that I do the opposite. I do something and then want to do the opposite. For me, it’s a competition I have with myself, proving my range in a way by doing a lot of different things.”
Based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith and set in the early 1950s, “Child 44” is loosely based on a true story of a serial killer who targeted children.
Tom Hardy (the new Mad Max) is the detective who tries to find the murderer while Kinnaman’s Vasili Nikitin is eager to block him, invoking the Communist Party line of dictator Joseph Stalin.
“I’m the sociopathic antagonist to Tom,” Kinnaman said.
“Tom and I work in Stalin’s secret police. Because Stalin says crime is a Western disease. When the child of Tom’s character’s best friend is murdered, that’s a crime against the state. But if you admit that, you get sent to the Gulag,” the fearsome Siberian prison camps.
Kinnaman finds such dark material appealing.
“It’s always the pursuit to go deeper into your emotions and touch those areas where we rarely go. Dark movies take us there.”
Kinnaman smiled, “It might sound pretentious. Sure, I’ve got a career and want to do well, but there’s a search (as an actor) for understanding yourself and being human.
“You try to find those parts where you go into unknown territory.”
(“Child 44” opens Friday.)
TV3.IE – Joel Kinnaman has insisted he is never concerned about whether making huge films will impact his personal life.
Joel Kinnaman reveals he learned “a lot of life lessons” while shooting Child 44.
The 35-year-old Swedish-American actor recently wrapped filming on the dramatic thriller, which focuses on political corruption in the former Soviet Union.
And Joel is blown away by how educational starring in the picture proved to be.
“It’s one of those roles — there’s a lot of life lessons I’m learning in the process,” he told USA Today. “It’s so much fun.”
Child 44 centres on disgraced member of the Soviet military police Leo Demidov, portrayed by Tom Hardy, who begins investigating a string of child murders in the 1950s. But when evidence mounts against some of the highest government officials, Leo finds himself the target of a lethal conspiracy.
Joel portrays villain Wasilij in Child 44, a film produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa.
And although the estimated budget to create the thriller was a whopping $50 million, Joel isn’t concerned about how being involved with high-profile studio projects like this will impact his personal life.
“I never think about things like that,” Joel said when asked about whether he’s worried his life will change if Child 44 is a huge hit. “That’s the kind of question you get before you do a big movie? That’s not how it works. You create your own world. A lot of people trick themselves walking around with that kind of expectation. I don’t expect anything to change. I’ll adapt to make it as normal as possible.”
Child 44, which is based on the eponymous 2008 novel by Tom Rob Smith, will be released to American theatres on April 17.