In the taut wilderness thriller Edge of Winter, Joel Kinnaman plays an unemployed, single dad with seething personal issues and more than a bit of a mean streak. It’s another complex character in an increasingly long line of layered performances by Kinnaman, who always manages to bring humanity to his roles, no matter how flawed the characters may be.
After his breakout role in the Swedish crime thriller Easy Money (aka Snabba Cash), Kinnaman came to widespread attention for his portrayal of detective Holder in AMC’s The Killing. Now, like many actors these days, he seems comfortable sliding between Hollywood tentpoles like Robocop and Suicide Squad, independent productions like Edge of Winter and even television with roles on House of Cards and the streaming service’s upcoming cyberpunk show Altered Carbon.
Since Edge of Winter sees release tomorrow (Friday, August 12), ScreenAnarchy caught up with Kinnaman to discuss what drew him to the project.
Screen Anarchy: First of all, congratulations on EDGE OF WINTER and your superb performance. I’m wondering what appealed to you about the project?
Joel Kinnaman: It was this character that really drew me in. It felt like there was an opportunity here to play a very complex character, a very difficult character, in a film that could also be a very exciting and horiffying psychological thriller.
I saw an opportunity to give nuance and perhaps some kind of understanding to a father that becomes a threat to his children’s lives — which is about as low as you can go. I saw a big challenge to humanize him in some way and get an understanding of where that kind of incomprehensible behaviour could come from.
I get the sense that you’re drawn to these types of complicated characters that push you into really dark places. One of my favourites is Holder on THE KILLING and it seems to be a theme in your career. What is it about this specifically that appeals to you?
If we were honest with ourselves, none of us are perfect in any way. And that’s why I’m drawn to the flaws. I don’t think it’s particularly interesting to watch a perfect human behave in a perfect way. It’s much more interesting to see why it doesn’t work and how you can still love somebody who has been damaged.
I think that even though we often want to distance ourselves from flawed people — people who perhaps didn’t receive the help they needed through life — really, they’re a symbol of what we all carry.
Is it hard for you to leave that mental space shen you finish shooting at the end of the day? Or do you carry some of that with you? Is it inevitable?
Sometimes it lingers, especially when you’ve gone to some personal places. In playing these kinds of roles and in acting in general, I feel that what I do is, I don’t really let my wounds heal. Things in my life that I’ve actually overcome already, that I no longer feel insecrure or sad about, I try to leave those wounds a little bit open and it does leave me open to feeling a little more anxiety at times, but it’s an important tool that helps me connect with, particularly, these kinds of characters.
You worked with a couple of young actors in this movie, including Tom Holland. I wonder if you passed on any of this wisdom to your young co-stars.
We would talk a lot and they were both very impressive. They really blew me away in how easily they could access deep emotion. And they really came to play. A lot of time with younger actors they want to do the fun stuff, like the action or the running, but they really wanted to dig deep. There was a vibe on set between us where the underline was, “We are really all going for it here. We’re not playing around.” And they were so game for it. So we had a lot of conversations about the work.
I really loved playing with young actors. It’s one of the most rewarding things because they’re so much closer to their original source of our profession, of playing. Becasue it’s a version of playing like we did when we were kids. And most adults forget what that is. They don’t have that in them anymore. Whereas if you’re an actor that’s good, that’s what you do. And that’s your job. So when you get into with a couple of kids, or young actors that are really talented, they tap into that so quickly and it becomes really inspiring.
So you’re team DC, Tom Holland is team Marvel. Was there any animosity between the two of you?
Well I actually helped Tommy with his audition. He was actually auditioning for Spider-Man while we were shooting Edge of Winter.
So you’re responsible!
It’s my fault!
Hey, that’s a-okay by us! Back to EDGE OF WINTER, what was the hardest part of making it?
The most difficult aspect, but the thing that was also at the core of the film, was the elements. It was below minus 30 and we were only shooting nights out in the woods. So it was very cold. So it was that, but at the same time we were really going for it with this one.
It’s really obvious in the fim. You can almost taste how cold it was. It really comes through.
Before I let you go, is there anything you can tell us about your new [cyberpunk] project, ALTERED CARBON?
Well, I’m coming back to Canada! I’m hoping to get that citizenship because I spend more time there than I do in the US.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a project than Altered Carbon. It’s just something that’s never been done before. It’s a sci-fi show that has a hard R rating and at the same time has a very high budget. It’s going to be 10 hours, but it’s like five decent-sized films in terms of budget.
We’re really going to be able to tell the story how it’s supposed to be told. It’s a sci-fi noir, Blade Runner-ish story that is just really fascinating and will give us all a take on what 500 years in the future could be like where techology has changed what the perception of life is and what the human body is and what the meaning of life is. And we do this through a detective story.
The ambition is so high from Netflix and Skydance, everybody involved in this project is the best in the game so it’s really going to be really fucking cool.
SA: Thanks Joel, it was a pleasure speaking with you. We’ll be sure to look for you around town in Vancouver when you begin shooting.
YAHOO.COM – As we enter Emmy season — nomination voting runs June 13 to 27 — Yahoo TV will be spotlighting performances, writing, and other contributions that we feel deserve recognition.
He should’ve gotten Lead Actor love for The Killing. But academy voters have the chance to make it up to Joel Kinnaman with a Supporting Actor nomination for Season 4 of House of Cards, in which he plays New York Gov. — and Republican POTUS contender — Will Conway.
Conway is a charming, highly photogenic family man and military veteran, and despite the many others who’ve gone up against Frank Underwood (and lived, or not, to regret it), he may just be the guy old F.U. can least afford to underestimate. Kinnaman’s confident, layered performance — we just know there’s some big stuff yet to be revealed about Mr. Conway! — made his character and his showdowns with the plotting President Underwood among the best reasons to binge-watch Season 4.
Kinnaman, who’ll star in the summer blockbuster Suicide Squad before continuing to battle Frank in Season 5, talked to Yahoo TV about his playlike face-off with Kevin Spacey’s prez in Season 4, getting the chance to help shape his character with the collaborative Beau Willimon and House of Cards writers, and the surreal experience of Season 4 not being able to out-outrageous real world politics.
Oh, and for our fellow fans of The Killing, Kinnaman has a really great idea about what Stephen Holder and Sarah Linden might be up to these days.
Yahoo TV: Will’s the first character that really felt like a formidable opponent for Frank, the kind of opponent we’ve been waiting to go up against Frank.
Joel Kinnaman: Thank you. That’s awesome to hear. I mean, that was my hope going into it. I thought it was such a great character. Beau Willimon’s writing is just delicious, and it was real cool to feel how, on the outside, they seem very different, Will and Frank, but then when it gets down to it, they’re two very similar animals. They just kind of went at it.
You were a fan of the show, right, before you signed on?
Oh, yeah. I don’t think it ever [took] more than three days before I finished a season when it came out.
What, specifically, attracted you to the Will role?
I mean, probably the position that he was in… a presidential candidate that’s already so far along. When you’re on a show where the writing is so good, you get a little bit of a feel for what it would be like. That’s really interesting. Then it’s the show in general, that I just love the tone of the show, and of course, the chance to go head-to-head with Mr. Spacey. That was also a lot of fun.
I love the scene where Will and Frank meet to talk alone in Episode 9. That must have been incredibly fun to film.
It was. That’s the dream scene in a way, because the scene was stretched out over the whole episode, but we shot it all in one piece. It was almost a 15-minute scene, just me and him in one room, and then you really get into it. It feels like you’re back on stage. Many times when you do TV and film, even if it’s very good writing, you rarely do scenes that are more than three or four minutes. When you do something that’s 12 minutes and it really has an arc, then you really start playing off of each other on another level, especially with someone like Kevin, who’s so skilled and is such an excellent theater actor. Me coming from theater as well, I think that was one of the reasons why we both really enjoyed that so much. We have somewhat similar styles of approaching the profession and material, so I think that was one of the reasons why we had so much fun playing that.
Were you two really playing the cellphone game Agar.io during that scene?
We sure were.
Had you played before?
No, never. I think a day before the scene I found out what it was, and got into it.
HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM – Joel Kinnaman is returning to Netflix.
The star of The Killing has been tapped to topline the streaming giant’s sci-fi drama Altered Carbon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Additionally, Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones) has signed on to direct the series premiere.
Based on Richard Morgan’s 2002 novel of the same name, Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island) will pen the script for the 10-episode drama from Skydance Television.
The passion project is set in the 25th century and explores what happens when the human mind becomes digitized and the soul is transferable from one body to another. The series revolves around Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-elite interstellar warrior known as an Envoy who has been imprisoned for 500 years and who is downloaded into a future he had tried to stop. If he can solve a single murder in a world where technology has made death nearly obsolete, he will get a chance at a new life on Earth.
Kinnaman will take on the role of Envoy.
Kalogridis penned an Altered Carbon screenplay years ago, which has now become the Netflix drama. She will write the script, executive produce and serve as showrunner. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross exec produce alongside Kalogridis’ Mythology Entertainment partners Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt.
Altered Carbon expands Netflix’s relationship with Skydance, which also has comedy Grace and Frankie set up at the streamer.
Altered Carbon extends Kinnaman’s relationship with Netflix after the streamer picked up AMC drama The Killing for a fourth and final season. The actor most recently recurred on season four of Netflix’s House of Cards and will return for a few episodes of the political drama’s fifth season. His big-screen credits include the upcoming Suicide Squad, RoboCop and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Kinnaman is repped by WME, Magnolia Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.