The first time you really noticed Joel Kinnaman was probably either TV’s “The Killing” or filling shoes once worn by Peter Weller in the 2014 “RoboCop” remake.
From the starring role in the latter, it took awhile for the Swedish born actor (real name Charles Joel Nordström) to really pop. Recently he’s been in Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” which – let’s face it – nobody understood and the ill-advised adaptation of Lee Child’s book Child 44.
But 2016 might finally be his year. Following a very classy turn as a crusading politician in Netflix’s “House of Cards” (the polar opposite of his big screen roles so far), he joins the years most zeitgeisty film, “Suicide Squad”.
The 36 year old talked to Moviehole on the Toronto set of David Ayer’s anticipated comic book blockbuster about his character Rick Flagg, military handler of the Suicide Squad.
It seems like character of Rick Flagg is one of the few true heroes with integrity.
I think that’s what I really like about this script, it really questions ‘what is a hero and what is a bad guy?’ It’s my favorite theme when it takes place in the gray zone more than in the black and white. We see some good guys doing some bad things, and some really bad guys doing some good things.
He’s just a soldier. He doesn’t have any superpowers or any kind of special powers?
No. No superpowers.
How does he fit into the team?
He’s basically holding the team hostage because he can kill them. They all have implants in their necks, he’s forced by his boss to do this, and he doesn’t necessarily agree with his boss. Then over the course of the movie you see how that sort of allegiance shifts and how he questions his morality.
Do the other guys get more action or is he in on the action as well?
No, they’re all in on the action. The superpowers here aren’t that crazy. Diablo [Jay Hernandez] can get pretty crazy, but he’s quite passive in the first part of the movie. Deadshot [Will Smith] is an extremely good shooter, but so is Flagg.
What’s your character’s arc, if any?
He thinks [the Squad] is a horrible idea. He wants to solve this with his team of operators that he knows and he can trust, but now he has to deal with these psychopaths that do not follow orders, they just go their own way.
Then he sees how affected they are, and also that they also have a moral foundation though it takes a different shape than his. He starts to appreciate these people, and his allegiance starts to shift towards them.
How does he fit into the gritty real world director David Ayer wants to create as opposed to a hyper-real comic book world?
I think this whole DC approach has a very different tone than the Marvel world. I think the stakes are higher. There’s more real emotion in it, and there’s a lot of over the top, fun characters. The comedy comes more from characters that are extreme, more a world that isn’t really taken serious.
I think that is sort of the main difference. It’s much easier to share more of your feelings when the world has a seriousness to it. There’s a playfulness in the characters, but the world is real.
Was it a really different experience from Robocop? This looks like it has a lot more practical effects.
Yeah, it’s much bigger. It’s really evident for me because we shot that here too, in Toronto, and this movie is about twice the size of RoboCop. There’s a lot more stunt people.
We were doing scenes last week where we had about 26 people on wires just running on walls, this whole wall of bad guys coming towards us. I think there were probably about fifty people in the whole scene.
Is it more fun filming that way?
I love being in the real action. It really bores me to watch a city get demolished in CG. I’ve seen it so many times, I’m bored by that.
Mad Max was an excellent example of real people doing very well rehearsed but dangerous things. There’s a tension when we do stuff for real that you can’t recreate. We have the same stunt team they had on Mad Max so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an increase in those kinds of action films in the future.
Did you get to do a lot of your own stunts?
I’d love to say, “Yeah, I do all my stunts,” but I mean, I’ll do as much as I can. I’ll do the stuff that matters when you come in close. Then there’s things like jumping out of a speeding truck that’s driving fifty miles an hour. I’m not going to do that.
If a stunt guy sprains his ankle or breaks his leg, worst case scenario, it’s of course really bad and tragic, but if one of the leads of the film does that the whole production is in jeopardy.
What’s your favorite scene?
There’s this big bar scene right before the final act. It’s quite obvious that the world is going under and we’re all going to die, and there’s not much we can do about it. A couple of the others are like, “Fuck it. We’re all going to die,” so they head into this bar and everybody becomes kind of candid and a quite honest conversation ensues. It was just like a real drama scene with seven people… and a crocodile.
“Suicide Squad” is in cinemas in August 2016.
ISCHOOLGUIDE.COM – In 2014, Brazilian director José Padilha’s Robocop reboot tanked in the box-office as it only attained $58 million in the United States. This was considered a flop as the film’s production was budgeted at $100 million. In addition to its commercial failure, the film gained negative ratings on top-ranking film review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.
Despite the commercial flop in the US and the film being critically panned prior to release, the reboot has made its strides in international markets such as Asia and Europe. According to Cinemablend, “the reboot has crossed the $51 million mark, domestically. Here’s a number, though, that will really turn your head. RoboCop has banked $136 million overseas. Which means, globally, the reboot is fast approaching the $200 million mark.”
While this keeps hope for a sequel, don’t expect it to be a top priority for Sony’s upcoming films. As reported by Cinemablend, Sony will be open to a new project if the right idea comes along. Moreover, director José Padilha and lead actor Joel Kinnaman who played Alex Murphy have yet to be tapped for a second run.
Director José Padilha just recently directed “Nacros,” a Netflix original series based on the famous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar while Kinnaman is set to co-star in another Hollywood blockbuster, DC’s “Suicide Squad.”
As for his inclination on joining the sequel for the reboot, Kinnaman recently stated on Toronto Sun, “I’d be surprised if we do another one, but I’d be down.” He then jested, “I have to, it’s in my contract.” Based on a an interview with IGN, good news for fans of this reboot is that star Gary Oldman stated that he would commit to doing a sequel as long as he would be able to work with director Jose Padilha once again.
torontosun.com – Netflix subscribers will likely be seeing a whole lot of Joel Kinnaman this weekend, as the fourth season of crime drama The Killing hits the streaming service. But the Swedish actor is known for more than just playing Detective Stephen Holder – he also portrayed Alex Murphy in the recent reboot of the ’80s hit RoboCop.
And in an interview with QMI Agency, Kinnaman revealed that he’d be interested in revisiting his RoboCop character in a sequel.
“I’d be surprised if we do another one, but I’d be down,” he says, and then laughs. “I have to, it’s in my contract.”
The 2014 reboot, directed by Jose Padilha, earned $242 million at the box office worldwide but received mixed reviews from critics.
“What made the original RoboCop so memorable was its violence, its satire, its depiction of this seedy, awful world rotting from within,” wrote QMI Agency’s Steve Tilley in his review this past winter. “What we have here is a competent if not exactly memorable sci-fi action movie. A movie that is RoboCop in name only.”
Aside from The Killing, Kinnaman says he’s got enough to keep him busy if the RoboCop franchise doesn’t continue.
“I’m developing three different projects that are in different stages of financing,” he says. “So right now I’m waiting for a start date. And I think I’ll probably start shooting around October or November.”
Kinnaman also stars in the upcoming mobster drama Run All Night with Liam Neeson.
The newest Robocop film retells an old story, and I’m not talking about the 1987 film of the same name.
In many ways police officer Alex Murphy’s (Joel Kinnaman) story parallels that of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who wanted to be a real boy. Except that Murphy, whose mind and soul ends up locked up inside a robotic police suit following an almost fatal injury, was once a real police officer and he wishes he still was.
Stuff.co.zn – It’s 2028 and the streets of the world are under threat from terrorists, drug lords, and bent cops. Only Robocop and his robotic companions have what it takes to clean the streets up – Judge Dredd style.
Robocop also borrows from the tin man from The Wizard of Oz who longs for a heart and inspired Star Trek: The Next Generation’s android officer Data who has the same dream if, indeed, android dream of electric sheep.
Anakin Skywalker’s story, from Star Wars, also parallels Murphy’s narrative. Skywalker becomes the more machine than man Darth Vader and uses his cybernetic strength for evil, yet Murphy counterpoints this by using his robo body for good.
But the most obvious story that Robocop draws upon is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In it Dr Frankenstein creates a monster which runs rampant. Murphy, too, is a monster of sorts who is horrified to see all that is left of himself in the mirror after his creator removes all his serviceable robotic parts in a scene which echoes Borg scenes from Star Trek: First Contact.
Robocop, then, can hardly be called an original film and yet there is something compelling about its story. Perhaps it’s the film’s familiarity coupled with one man’s quest to find what it is to be human. The great job the film’s lead does alongside Robocop co-creators played by Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton helps.
Samuel L Jackson also makes an important appearance.
Flix66.com – It seems like every movie that comes out nowadays is either a sequel (or pre-quel), a re-imagining or rebooting of something we’ve already seen, or something more loosely related (like all the Marvel movies) but still along the same vein from the other ideas. Is it time for something new and original? I never wished for this more than when I sat through the first three or four minutes of the new ROBOCOP, loosely based on the 1987 Paul Verhoeven flick that, itself, spawned two sequels and a television show and several lackluster video games. But is the rebooted ROBOCOP worth your time? Thankfully, though I may find myself in small company with other critics, it absolutely deserves a watch.
At its core, the basis of the new ROBOCOP the same as the old movie – what happens when you put a man inside a machine? This reboot approaches a question and a level of social consciousness the original never could. I say approaches because it never quite goes all the way with the questions it poses, settling instead for video-game violence and CGI effects that don’t quite impress. But the best science fiction, like this new ROBOCOP, at the very least pose the question and make us think, and ROBOCOP does succeed in this endeavor.
One of the reasons this popcorn/event movie is able to get away with posing such deeply seeded questions of conscience and consciousness is the casting. This time around our robotic hero is played by newcomer Joel Kinnaman (detective Stephen Holder in television’s THE KILLING) and he has some chops. Having started his career in his native Sweden, Kinnaman brings an approach more genuine than we usually get to experience in science fiction flicks. And Kinnaman isn’t the only strong link in the acting chain that is ROBOCOP. He’s surrounded by talented veterans Gary Oldman (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES), Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson (who I hesitate to include because I really hated his role in the film). Keaton feels a little bit stiff but has some very nice scenes, specifically with the amazing Oldman who continues to impress as his career moves forward.
MovieFanatic.com – As a kid growing up in Australia, Abbie Cornish watched the Peter Weller-starring Robocop so often that she wore out the tape. Now, she’s appearing in the Joel Kinnaman-starring Robocop reboot and talked with Movie Fanatic exclusively about the film as it has landed on DVD and Blu-Ray.
As teased in the Robocop trailer, Cornish plays Kinnaman’s wife who, after her husband practically dies from a car bomb, has to give the OK to have his body placed inside the metallic frame that will have him patrolling the streets of Detroit as the titular character.
Movie Fanatic: Can’t talk to you about Robocop and not talk about Joel Kinnaman. What huge shoes he had to fill from Peter Weller. But, he knocked it out of the park. What was the most special thing you found sharing time with Mr. Kinnaman?
Abbie Cornish: He wasn’t afraid to dive into this iconic character. The ’80s version — he’s truly an ’80s version and there is no way you could remake that. So, in the new version it is about taking us into the future from now. In doing that, Joel was okay with exploring more contemporary sensitivities when it comes to his condition. What happens to a man when his body is put inside a machine?! What happens to his soul? Is he the technology or is Robocop about something bigger? Those are some concepts that are not easy to grasp.
CraveOnline.com – I really did a complete 180 on Robocop. Of all the recent movie remakes, I thought for sure Robocop was going to be the one they’d mess up the worst. It turned out to be one remake that did a good job telling a different story about the same premise. It’s a Robocop movie I’d actually like to see continue in sequels. Let’s face it, if Robocop had been managed well in the ‘80s we’d be on Robocop 10 by now, but it wasn’t and here we are.
Robocop is still the story of Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a policeman with a wife and son who is killed by some criminals he’s investigating. OmniCorp, a military technology firm, convinces his wife (Abbie Cornish) to sign his body over to them so they can turn him into a cyborg police officer. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding Robocop, but the real question is will he remember he’s still Alex Murphy? OmniCorp may own the billion-dollar Robocop technology but they can’t own Alex Murphy.
I was worried the human family story would get lost in a modern day visual effects extravaganza, but the Murphy family is actually more integral in this version. My favorite scene in the 1987 Robocop is when he visits his own open house and remembers his wife and son. That’s really all you get until the sequel, but it was the entire movie to me. He remembers he’s Alex Murphy, so the humanity wins over the technology.
It’s not so easy for this Alex Murphy. His family is still in the picture but Omnicorp can program him to shut down his memories when he’s on the job. So can Clara Murphy and their son remind Alex Murphy who he is?
I was worried they would just action up the movie and have Robocop fight a bunch of bad guys and other robots. Now I’m impressed that screenwriter Joshua Zetumer and director Jose Padilha got away with so little action in a movie called Robocop. They really emphasized the politics and drama. When Robocop does spring into action, it’s fast and efficient. He gets the job done and the movie is left to deal with the consequences.
I was worried about a fast running Robocop, but they didn’t overdo that. It actually creates an interesting new dynamic for Robocop versus the bad guys. The issue is no longer whether or not Robocop can find a way to apprehend criminals despite his mobile limitations and vulnerabilities. He’s going to get the criminals, and quick. The question is, can law be enforced by a super-efficient computer, and can Alex Murphy the man survive as such a creation? The really interesting thing is when Alex solves his own murder, the culprits would make bad PR. That’s why OmniCorp has a moral problem, less so than the famous Directive 4 of the original.
Of course, the new Robocop is about our use of drone warfare. The whole premise is that in this world, the drones work. The ED-209s are effective, not a cautionary tale of malfunctioning technology. The U.S. won’t allow them to be used domestically, so OmniCorp builds the cyborg Robocop to put a human face on the drones. I do wish the drone scenes hadn’t been filmed in the usual shakycam style. What they are doing is interesting, you just can’t see them through the smoke and jittery camera. Fortunately, as I said, the action isn’t the important part of this Robocop so with a story this provocative, it works out in the end.
The Blu-ray looks great. The film is as sleek and shiny as Robocop himself. There is only a modest assortment of bonus features, including a limited four minutes of deleted scenes that explicitly explain things that I believe were summarized in ADR in the final cut. The OmniCorp ads look like things that were probably online to promote the movie but now I can’t find them anywhere. The behind the scenes feature covers the basics of the theme and creation of the suit. It’s cool how they combined soft, flexible material with rigid pieces tactically placed.
The new Robocop may never get a special edition like the original Robocop Criterion Collection laserdisc, but I think it’s worth owning as part of the Robocop legacy. Of course, I’m such a Robocop fan I also endorse the Canadian “Prime Directives” miniseries, but the latest Hollywood Robocop production is even better than the Canadian television show!
TheSpectrum.com – OK, I’m publicly admitting it: I’ve never seen 1987’s “Robocop.”
So while I have nothing to compare 2014’s version of the film to, I was going in unscathed and without preconception. Without being armed with expectations, the reboot’s disappointment levels are at a minimum.
In other words, “Robocop” was kind of fun.
Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is fighting a war against corruption in 2028 Detroit. When he gets a little too close to finding out which of his fellow cops are actually bad guys, someone attempts to blow him up.
Luckily for Alex, a company called OmniCorp is searching for wounded officers and soldiers to use in a new project — essentially using robotics to replace and enhance what the officers have lost.
So, Alex’s wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) gives consent, and Robocop is born. Or, created.
I’m mad at myself for not seeing this in the theaters. Michael Keaton plays Raymond Sellars, the head of OmniCorp, and I just can’t get enough of this man. Why did we stop casting him in movies?
Perhaps it’s because I have fond memories of “Batman” and “Beetlejuice,” but I’d love to see Keaton in more films. He’s a great actor and a formidable presence.
He wasn’t the only actor with gravitas to appear in “Robocop,” though. Playing the political television pundit Pat Novak is none other than Samuel L. Jackson. While his scenes seem more like an afterthought, it’s still fun to see him in any film.
And then there’s Gary Oldman, who plays Dr. Dennett Norton, the man responsible for the science behind Robocop. Oldman ranks among my most favorite actors. He’s incredibly versatile, super likable and, darn it, how can he have only been nominated for an Oscar just once?
The only actor I was really unsure about was the lead. Kinnaman, bless his heart, was fine playing a robot, but all his human scenes were so below par that I could just see him trying his hardest to act. I guess it’s a good thing he spent the majority of the movie in his Robocop suit.
The special features on the Blu-ray were pretty engaging. The featurette “RoboCop: Engineered for the 21st Century” showed us how the filmmakers updated the look of the titular character from its 1987 predecessor and how they created the actual suit.
I was an actor in a nationally recognized haunted house in Salt Lake City for a few years, and I had to wear a full-body Pinhead suit. We’re talking pounds and pounds of draped leather on top of latex. The thing was incredibly hot.
Come to find out, there are these cooling suits that can be worn underneath these latex outfits, and Kinnaman got to wear one. Who knew? I looked on in envy as they showed how tubes filled with water would circulate underneath all the latex and plastic
Boy I wish I had access to one of those back in my haunted house days. Kinnaman got off easy.
I guess now it’s time for me to get the Blu-ray rerelease of the original “Robocop.” We’ll see if it holds up almost 30 years later.
Gotchamovies.com – RoboCop – Jose Padhila’s reimagining of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical classic – hits Blu-Ray and DVD on June 3rd, 2014.
To coincide with the film’s release, the city of Detroit is declaring this Tuesday “RoboCop Day.” MGM and Twentieth Century Fox encourage the citizens of Detroit to come out and celebrate the iconic hero, who will have a monument unveiled in his honor, which will soon find a home in the city.
Fans will also get a meet-and-greet with RoboCop, and our favorite machined hero will make his way to Comercia Park to throw the first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game. Check out more details below: