OUT.COM – “I kind of miss him,” says Joel Kinnaman, referring to Stephen Holder, the streetwise, hoodie-wearing detective (and reformed addict) he played in AMC’s absorbing crime serial, The Killing, based on the hit Danish show Forbrydelsen. “He could be both very mature and deeply immature, very angry and vulnerable.”
Of course, the fact that Holder could embody such contradictions simultan-eously was due, in no small part, to the depth that Kinnaman brought to the role. A rare example of an American adaptation holding its own against the European original, The Killing was compelling in large part because of the chemistry between Holder and his pensive colleague, Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos). Their dynamic — playful, prickly, and emotionally complex — was the most striking difference between the two shows. “The Danish version of the role I played wasn’t a particularly interesting one,” concedes Kinnaman. “He was more of an antagonist that wanted to do it by the book, [whereas] we were able to create a character that felt like he could do anything.”
After a roller-coaster ride in which the series was canceled, then uncanceled, then canceled again before Netflix swooped in to pick it up for a final season that aired last August, The Killing has definitively left our screens. Thankfully, Kinnaman has not. The actor, who enjoyed a meteoric rise in his native Sweden — where he made nine movies in a 16-month period from 2009 to 2010 — can now be seen in the big-screen adaptation of Child 44, a Soviet-era thriller by gay novelist Tom Rob Smith. Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2008, the book is a masterful evocation of Stalin’s Russia, in which murder is viewed as a product of Western decadence, a crime imputed to homosexuals, the mentally ill, and other “deviants.” Inevitably, this ideological myopia comes with gruesome consequences.
Kinnaman plays Vasili Nikitin, a sadistic party loyalist (“There is no crime in paradise” is his mantra) determined to derail Tom Hardy’s Leo Demidov, who is working to expose the corrosive culture that has enabled a child killer to run rampant. Nikitin is not meant to be likable, but Kinnaman succeeds in making him more intriguing than the novel allows. “In the opening sequence, it was written [in the script] that he was just standing there, looking with sinister eyes, but we created a situation where he was being picked on,” explains Kinnaman. “He’d been a weak, frightened, abused boy, and that’s where the evil came from. The challenge was to find colors that weren’t just sociopathic, or ambitious, or greedy.”
Although set 62 years ago, Child 44 offers some striking parallels with the current upsurge in violence towards Russia’s LGBT community, a real-time echo that Kinnaman is all too attuned to. “I’ve been following what’s been happening with these [guys] who go online and set up dates, pretty much as they do in the movie, and then they almost kidnap people and beat them, and post the tapes on YouTube,” he says. “It’s disgusting.”
Child 44 is not the first time the actor has found himself having to channel the mind-set of a Russian sociopath. Daniel Espinosa, who directs the movie, first spotted Kinnaman playing Raskolnikov in a four-hour stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. That, in turn, led to a principal part in Espinosa’s Easy Money, a galloping Swedish drama in which Kinnaman starred as a working-class business student turned criminal.
As in Easy Money and Crime and Punishment, Kinnaman’s performance in Child 44 encapsulates his skill in walking the line between light and shade. It’s the kind of duality the actor can trace to his teens, a period of intense anxiety and fear scored through with petty crime and bullying. “It was never really a band of brothers — there was just always this constant terror,” he says. “When we’d hang out, you’d try to find somebody else to pick on or rob, because otherwise you might get picked on or robbed by one of your friends. I developed a nervous feeling for a couple of years after breaking off from that whole group. But at the same time, I feel like almost every role I play has something to do with those years.”
THESOURCE.COM – Joel Kinnaman and Génesis Rodríguez play husband and wife in Run All Night which is now playing.
Read what they had to say about working on the film, Liam Neeson and more!
How did you feel when you heard you were perfect to play Liam Neeson’s son?
Joel Kinnaman: That is a hug compliment even though he’s an alcoholic hit man in this. I was really honored to play his son in this film and I’m always drawn to father and son stories. I always get very emotional watching them and every friend that I have, older or younger … everybody’s had a complicated relationship to their father at some point in their life. This was a very interesting one.
Genesis told us on set you guys were listening to some cool hip-hop music. What were you guys listening to to get prepped for shooting?
Joel Kinnaman: Jay Electronica. I remember I played that to Common and he was like, oh s*** I haven’t heard this. I was like, I played song to Common that he hadn’t heard. That made my day.
Is that a ritual just listening to some hip-hop of just any music before you take on a big role or in between scenes?
Joel Kinnaman: Yeah sometimes. I mean I had the biggest premiere of my life was after I got out of acting school. I was in the big play of Crime and Punishment. It was the opening of a new national theater with as much coverage as you can get for a play in Sweden. Very much attention. And I was the center piece, I didn’t leave the stage for three hours and 45 minutes, so it was on me. For some reason I was listening to Bob Marley and … we jammed and it worked out really well.
Can you speak about working with Jaume the director and building this character.
Joel Kinnaman: It was a great collaboration. When I got the script, I thought Brad Ingelsby had written a beautiful script. There was one thing with that I felt could be improved and that was my character. He was written a little bit too clean cut. He had a white wife with his two blonde children. For some reason it’s like a lot of Hollywood stories … when somebody’s innocent they’re white which is farthest from the truth. And that he was much more of a victim of circumstance and he wasn’t proactive in the situation. I wanted you to feel that … this kid that grew up with alcoholic criminal father that created a very unstable home environment, he grew up in this rough neighborhood with everybody knowing he’s Jimmy Conlin’s son and even though he did a very respectable thing to create a different life for himself in the opposite life of his father and create a life for his children that he didn’t get, you still want to feel the residue of that background … I wanted him to be a violent person that has a lot of anger inside and that’s where we came up with that he had a run at being a professional fighter and but then he also had a lot of anger issues that he was trying to keep down. When these unfortunate events start to unfold then we also see how he would react in those situations and being proactive in that.
Did you have to train in boxing?
Joel Kinnaman: I did boxing a little bit. I’ve never done any fights, but sparing. A dear friend of mine, he’s actually on the money team, Mayweather’s team, and he’s actually got a title fight in a month, so he hooked me up with his New York trainer, a guy called Don Saxby so I was over there at Gleason’s and Don was helping me not look a complete fool in those scenes.
Can you speak about shooting in New York?
Joel Kinnaman: Yeah. That’s why I was so happy that we were shooting in New York. There’s a sense of humor and a toughness to New York that is so specific to here, it’s a lot of tough love and that’s why I was really adamant that they weren’t going to be like a white couple. They were from mixed neighborhoods so it was great that she also brought a little Latin attitude to it and it’s not easy raising two kids with not much money and you have fights but you love each other. It’s not a big deal but you’re working hard to make it work. I thought she was phenomenal in the film, really a strong woman … she’s feminine but a very strong woman.
What was the set chemistry like with all of the actors?
Joel Kinnaman: It was a hell of a good time. We had a lot of fun and Liam … he’s a funny guy and as soon as we became friends and started joking with each other we’re messing each other up and tripping each other up before the scenes and I was always worried is his back going to hold for this long stretch, do you need me to support you over this old man. He was like get out of the way lad. He’s going to show me boxing, he’s like hey so you’re boxing now … people haven’t boxed like that since the 20s when you were a kid.
ELLE.COM – The longer I wait for Joel Kinnaman to show up to The Spare Room, an old-timey speakeasy retrofitted with vintage bowling lanes and nestled in a hidden corner of Hollwood’s iconic Roosevelt Hotel, the more rattled I get. While interviewing hot babes is part of the gig (**blows on nails**), there’s something about the Stockholm-born actor that has always made me nervous.
For anyone who hasn’t been seduced by Detective Stephen Holder over four seasons of The Killing, Kinnaman plays a street tough, cocky sonofagun who tosses off lines like, “My body’s my temple, but this”—while gesturing toward his head with a deli sandwich—”is the control tower.” It’s the kind of Holderism fans of the AMC turned Netflix series love about the rough-around-the-edges antihero.
And then, without much fanfare at all, he arrives. Unlike many of his contemporaries he’s tall, a full-size 6’2, and, as expected, lacks that whole showbiz aim-to-please air. (Even his outfit: a charcoal pullover, navy pants, and low top Nike dunks goes stylishly under the radar.) But despite his low talking and aloof air, there’s something formidable about a 35-year-old who can hold his own in a shoot ‘em up (Run All Night, out today) alongside Hollywood veterans Liam Neeson and Ed Harris. He’s calm, thoughtful, and confident in himself. And though he has a chip on his shoulder about marriage (read on…) he doesn’t ascribe himself to being any one kind of man: be it macho, metrosexual, or chess prodigy. He’s just Joel Kinnaman, and he’s slaying a Snoop Dogg concert-incited hangover with some mid-afternoon vodka. Can he live?
Because we’re a women’s magazine dedicated to flipping the script on men, I have a question: When you’re on the cover of a fitness mag, with a headline like, ‘How to get Joel Kinnaman’s Ripped Abs,’ are you actually passing along real workout tips?
I completely make it up.
No, no, but gaining weight is hard for me.
I feel bad for you. Truly.
I mean, now ’cause I’m in my thirties, I can get, like, skinny fat, which is super attractive…[Laughs]
After Googling you, I found out that your mom is a therapist. For the deeper, darker stuff in The Killing, do you ever pull from stuff you heard about her patients?
Actually I had quite the bit of life experience, and, you know, had my difficult years and difficult phases of life—that’s what you always draw from when you do roles like that. In terms of whether my mom was influential, I think she instilled a certain way of thinking in me quite early: having a reflective mindset regarding my actions and trying to find the underlying reasons to behavior. I think that’s quite helpful when you’re trying to understand a character.
From every interview I’ve read with you, you seem very thoughtful about the characters you play. Has a director ever told you, ‘You’re over thinking it. Do less, Joel’?
Yeah, for sure. But, at the same time, preparation is always meant to get tossed out the window when you get to set. The preparation is just to, like, fill you up, but as soon as you start working, you can’t think of the preparation. It’s like, whatever gets stuck, gets stuck.
But have you ever had to learn, like, Tai Chi for a role and then you get there and they’re like, ‘Never mind, we’re not going to do that anymore!’
I mean, that’s actually happened a couple of times. Recently, I was going to go to South Africa and do a movie in which I was going to be a sad little fat boy—
So you got nice and fat…
Yeah, so I just stopped training and just, like, ate a lot of ice cream. All my friends were thrilled. It was like, ‘Yeahhhh, fatty.” They were giving me Snickers bars. And then the movie fell apart two weeks before I was going to go. That’s happened a couple of times where I’ve prepared for a role or learned a whole new dialect and then it fell apart. It happens a lot with financing—especially when you’re doing independent movies.
DIGITALSPY.COM – Joel Kinnaman has promised that DC Comics film Suicide Squad will be a complex exploration of heroism.
Kinnaman confirmed this week that he will join director David Ayer’s super-villain team-up film, along with Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie.
The actor has been widely tipped to be replacing Tom Hardy as Rick Flag Jr, who leads a team of super-villains on a government-mandated mission of redemption.
Earlier this week, Kinnaman told Screen Rant that he has been very impressed with director Ayer’s vision for the comic book adaptation.
“I love the script. It’s super entertaining and David Ayer is a really interesting director,” he explained. “You know there’s a lot of flashy directors who are good with the camera.
“When you get people who are from another aspect of filmmaking into a director’s role, you’re always very happy if it’s a writer or an editor, because those are the storytellers, and David is really a storyteller. Even though this is a massive superhero production it’s an amazing story.”
He continued: “The conversations we’ve had about the characters are really interesting, and he really gets to the bottom of things.
“Sometimes you’re worried, if you’re going to do a film like that, that it’s just going to be superhero fun but nothing’s going to go under the surface. But here I feel like we can get both.”
Rick Flag made his debut in the pages of DC Comics in 1959 as a special forces expert whose father led the first incarnation of the Suicide Squad in World War II.
Ted Whittall previously portrayed the character in the final season of Smallville.
Suicide Squad features Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and Viola Davis as government operative Amanda Waller.
It has been reported that Joe Manganiello could play the masked villain Deathstroke as well.
The movie will open in cinemas on August 5, 2016, following the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, 2016.
AU.IBTIMES.COM – A plot twist involving the identity of the main villain in “Suicide Squad” has just been revealed, if the recent reports are to be confirmed. Amanda Waller could be out as the film’s main antagonist since another character named Antiphon is said to be taking over. However, the latter’s name is believed to just be an alias given to Rick Flagg Sr.
Umberto Gonzalez, described by Screenrant as a “notorious scooper,” recently took to his Twitter page to share a photo of the main villain in the film. Described as a burn victim with a prosthetic leg, Antiphon is said to be the “head bad guy” in “Suicide Squad” who “leads a badass terrorist cell called #ONSLAUGHT.” Gonzales described the group as a special ops team that’s comprised of mercenaries who will be “up against #DEADSHOT & the rest of the Suicide Squad.” Onslaught reportedly has their own agenda why they are hunting superheroes and villains. Interestingly, Gonzales also mentioned actor Ed Harris was rumoured for the role of Antiphon.
According to Screenrant, Gonzalez’s version of the burn Antiphon differs from the slick villain featured in Keith Giffen’s comics. Likewise, his mention of Ed Harris supposedly being a contender for the role leads to speculations the main antagonist Antiphon may after all be Rick Flagg Sr.
Ed Harris was previously rumoured to star as Rick Flagg in “Suicide Squad.” However, that role has since been given to “Run All Night” star Joel Kinnaman. But not long after Kinnaman’s involvement in “Suicide Squad” was confirmed, Harris’ name was once again attached to the film although this time for the role of Rick Flagg Sr. However, the actor denied his involvement in the movie when asked by Screenrant during an interview, saying he doesn’t “know anything about that.” But he soon followed up his statement with a confirmation that Kinnaman had approached him to talk about a particular role in the film although he couldn’t be certain if it was for Rick Flagg Sr. “Joel mentioned that there was something he wanted me to look at, or think about doing, but I don’t know if that was it or not,” he said.
O.CANADA.COM – Between the sci-fi film RoboCop and the superhero movie Suicide Squad, Joel Kinnaman managed to fit in the gritty crime thriller Run All Night.
“Gotta keep it real,” said Kinnaman from New York. “You know how it is?”
In the movie, the Swedish-born actor portrays Mike Conlon, the estranged son of Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson), the latter character a boozy hit man haunted by his murderous past. When the hired killer ends up shooting the son of his mob boss, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) to protect Mike, they both have to hide out together and then confront their assassins.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra’s movie is a cinema noir showdown with lots of car chases and gunplay. Certainly, Kinnaman appreciated the plucky tone of the movie but acting opposite Neeson had its attractions, as well.
“It was such an honour to play with a heavyweight actor like Liam,” said the 35-year-old.
Their bond was immediate but their rehearsal time was minimal. “We discussed the script over a dinner and we just went at it.”
Preparing to play his character was more complicated, however. Kinnaman spent two weeks in New York working with a dialect coach to get his character’s working-class accent down. Since Mike, in the film, is a former pugilist, he also worked out at boxing clubs to perfect the moves. The process was a full immersion into the movie’s world of a rough and tumble New York.
“There is a special kind of humour you only get in New York,” Kinnaman said. “It’s a tough-love humour; New Yorkers can mean well but sound harsh.”
The actor was even permitted to revise some of his character’s traits that didn’t ring true for him.
“I changed a few things,” Kinnaman said. “In the original script, Mike was clean cut and became a victim of the circumstances and quite helpless, so I made him more of a take-charge guy.
“If he had grown up in a tough neighbourhood with an alcoholic gangster father, it would’ve had some repercussions on who he was and what he could deal with.”
Despite the required running and jumping in the movie, and the car chases and crashes, the actor survived with just a few cuts and bruises.
It was the multiple night shoots that had an impact on him. “Anybody who works nights for any job knows it’s tough on your mind and difficult to keep your concentration,” Kinnaman said. “You can lose control and sometimes get those sucky moments. You just trust the director that he doesn’t put those moments where you suck in the picture.”
So far, filmmakers seem to have served him well. After more than a decade as a journeyman actor, he had his breakout in 2011 playing Detective Holder in the acclaimed AMC series The Killing. He co-starred in Thor and has a part in the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road.
Initially, he hesitated when the RoboCop part was offered to him, but eventually he went for it.
“It’s always pretty clear what I want to do,” Kinnaman said of his career plan. “Some actors have a hit and want to replicate that. The (Swedish) culture I grew up in revered the actors who always tried something different.”
Portraying black-ops soldier Rick Flag in the superhero flick Suicide Squad will be something new.
The movie, co-written and directed by David Ayer, will begin filming next month in Toronto but Kinnaman can’t confirm much.
“All I can say is that I’m in it,” he said. “But every conversation I’ve had (with Ayer) is about how we are going deep, so I’m hopeful it won’t be just a big CGI fest.
“I think it will have both substance and amazing special effects and a little edge.”