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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Brand new posters of Child 44 have been released and Joel graces the cover of one. This film comes out next month so be sure to check it out in theaters.
The Child 44 posters are still making their releases and I have added the UK posters to the gallery. Hopefully Joel gets a solo one. I also added Joel’s solo poster from his upcoming movie with Liam Neeson, Run All Night. So check those out in the gallery.
Variety.com – Lionsgate will open the thriller “Child 44,” starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, on April 17 in the U.S.
Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Vincent Cassel also star in the thriller, directed by Daniel Espinosa from a script by Richard Price. Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Greg Shapiro produced.
The story, set in Stalinist Russia, centers on a senior member of the secret police framed by a colleague for treason and exiled to a remote outpost, where he unearths a series of mysterious murders and vows to catch the elusive killer.
“Child 44″ opens against Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″ and Focus’ sci-fier “Selfless.”
Although the idea of remaking director Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1987 sci-fi satire “RoboCop” may seem blasphemous to some, its ideas about technology, man-vs.-machine, ruthless corporate greed and the militarization of civil society are just as relevant today as they were more than a quarter-century ago. Wisely, Brazilian director Jose Padilha (“Elite Squad”) has adapted the original’s concepts to a modern setting and, most importantly, found Joel Kinnaman to make the role of Alex Murphy/RoboCop his own while honoring the legendary portrayal by Peter Weller.
The Swedish-American Kinnaman toiled in Swedish TV, theater and films before landing a breakout role in “Easy Money” (known in Sweden as “Snabba Cash”), the first of several collaborations with director and fellow Swede Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”). But what put him on the map for U.S. audiences was his portrayal of Detective Stephen Holder in the AMC series “The Killing,” which will end its run with six final episodes this year on Netflix. He’s currently working with Espinosa again, along with Tom Hardy, on “Child 44,” a thriller about a series of child murders in the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
Along the way, he’s also been a finalist to play both Thor and Mad Max, which may have helped pave the way for his first Hollywood leading role in “RoboCop.” Moviefone sat down with Kinnaman to discuss why he didn’t want the iconic role at first, working 14 hours a day in the costume, and which superhero he might like to play one day.
Moviefone: You said earlier today that when you first heard about this, you didn’t think it was the right fit for you. Why not?
Joel Kinnaman: Well, I think when you first hear of the idea of a remake being made of “RoboCop,” there’s a lot of bad ways to remake a movie and a lot of wrong reasons why. And I hadn’t heard anything more about than they were going to remake it. That didn’t appeal to me in any way. But then I heard that it was Jose that was going to do this film, and I was very familiar with his work, I had seen his documentary “Bus 174” and I saw both of his “Elite Squad” movies in the theater in Sweden so I was a huge fan of his work and I thought that he was one of the most interesting directors out there, who always had a very strong social and political commentary and point of view in his films and always top notch acting and a very, in my opinion, very interesting and beautiful visual style that was both poetic and very gritty.
So when I heard that they chose this guy to remake “RoboCop.” I knew that he was going to have a very interesting take on it. I also knew that he made a lot of money on “Elite Squad 2,” so he doesn’t have to take a job because of money or anything, he wants to take it because he has a passion for filmmaking and telling stories that he feels has value for our society, and of course also great entertainment.
When I heard that he wanted to sit down with me, first I was amazed that he even knew who I was and I was so honored that he wanted to meet me. I was just kind of blown away by his vision of the story that he wanted to tell using the concept of “RoboCop.” I just thought it was brilliant.
Did you watch the original again at any time during casting or production, or did you purposely try and stay away from it?
No, no. I mean, I was a huge fan of the original movie. And that’s also why I was a little hesitant or it didn’t appeal to me at first because I thought the first film was — I’d seen it probably 20 to 25 times before I even heard of this remake. But after I read the script too and after Jose was telling me what he wanted to do with it, it was very obvious that Alex Murphy’s journey was completely different. He was going through a very different thing and that he was sort of a different person in this one than he was in the first Verhoeven one. And they’re also two filmmakers that have such different tones so I didn’t feel the need to stay away from the original and all.
Have you ever met or had a chance to talk with Peter Weller?
I haven’t. I’d love to meet him though. I think he’s a phenomenal actor and still putting out really interesting and great work. I was such a fan of both when he did this and in “Naked Lunch.” He’s a great actor.
This is the first time you’ve had to really work with effects and this kind of intensive costuming. How does it affect you when you’re inside this thing for 14 hours a day?
It’s both very taxing and it’s limiting in a sense but that was also sort of the gift that came with it. I would sit on set and kind of become a little introvert and I wouldn’t feel as loose and wanting to talk with other people, because I was in this big constricted thing and I couldn’t really turn around. I also didn’t have any other clothes on underneath really. I had this sort of unitard underneath so I’d feel a bit naked. And that became sort of a pathway to a train of thought that led me to understand some of Alex’s vulnerability that he felt after he became RoboCop. I thought that was interesting because he had such a new powerful body but the vulnerability and the nakedness that he would feel without a real body, that was key to my performance in a way. I was surprised that the ideas of how that would feel would come through wearing the suit.
Most of your work has been really character driven, but you also auditioned for “Thor” and for the new “Mad Max.” So those larger-than-life franchise characters have an appeal to you as well, right?
Yeah. I was living in Sweden and working in Sweden in theater and doing small Swedish movies, and then all of a sudden they threw a wide casting net for Thor and they asked pretty much everyone that had ever been onstage to put himself on tape, which I didn’t even know what that was when they asked me to do that. Put myself on tape, what does that mean? Oh, film myself — I’d never done that before. So I did that and I sort of got into the running of Thor. Actually I put myself on tape and sent it off and didn’t hear anything about it.
And then two or three weeks later my sister tells me, “Hey, we just had (British newspaper) The Guardian in our office and there’s a picture of you and three other guys they said are the runners-up to play Thor. I was like, “Oh really? nobody told me about it.” So Thor and Mad Max where the two first American projects that I auditioned for and I got pretty far on both of them. Then this manager called — Shelly Browning — she came to Sweden and wanted to sit down with me and thought it would be a really good idea for me to come to the States. I trusted her and came over here.
It’s also kind of funny that there are all these Batman connections to you and this film. You’re working with a Batman, Michael Keaton, and Commissioner Gordon, Gary Oldman. And in your next film, “Child 44,” you’re working with Tom Hardy.
They’ve already got their Batman for the next movie but is there a superhero you might want to play?
There are a couple. Constantine is a cool character. I prefer the darker ones that you could kind of shoot in a gritty way where it’s very realistic. That would appeal to me more — to play a superhero that has no flaws, that’s the most boring thing there is. But if it’s somebody that is sort of torn apart then it becomes a metaphor for some psychological dilemma. Daredevil was one that could be an interesting character. But also some of these suits are hard to get around. You know, it becomes too much of a cartoon. So it would have to have a very strong idea behind it.
What can you say about the final season of “The Killing” that will appear on Netflix?
We start shooting at the end of February, I just sat down with Veena Sud, the show runner, and she told me the story line for the concluding six episodes and I’m so excited. It’s such a good feeling, because I know that maybe there weren’t that many fans of the show, but the fans that did like the show really liked it. And it just feels so good to be able to give them this conclusion of the relationship between Holder and Linden. It feels very worthy.
– source: news.moviefone.com