The name Joel Kinnaman is likely to draw a blank from the average moviegoer.
He’s more “that tall, lanky guy from ‘The Killing,’” or the fellow who had the misfortune of playing “Robocop” in the ill-conceived 2014 reboot. However, his days of relative anonymity may be over. Kinnaman helps anchor “Suicide Squad” as Rick Flag, the field leader of the team of super villains and criminals. He’s a brusque military man, tasked with running herd over the baddest of the bad. The film co-stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Jared Leto as the Joker. It’s expected to dominate the box office this weekend, opening to as much as $125 million.
Kinnaman spoke with Variety about his intense training regimen, “Suicide Squad” sequels, and the disgusting gifts he received from Leto.
Tom Hardy originally had your role, but he had to drop out to finish “The Revenant.” How did you get the part?
I was following this project very jealously from the sidelines. All these new cast members were being added, and nobody was calling me. Then I heard about Tommy dropping out. My reps called me and said they’d set up a meeting for me with [director] David Ayer. We sat down in a bar in Toronto and we hit it off. We understood where we were coming from.
In the audition, we just hit it off. The room was gelling. He proved he was an actor’s director. I come from the theater initially, so I respond very well to getting stuff thrown at you. It helps me show what I can do.
How did you prepare?
The first thing David told me was “get big.” So I did that. I gained 35 pounds in three months. Trained a lot. Ate a lot. I did gain a little too much on the belly, so I had to lose that.
I became close with our military advisers on the film. Two of them were former Navy SEALS who went on to become CIA operators. These guys were real life Rick Flags. We went through intense training. We’d go out in the woods and backpack with 50 pounds. They wanted to drain me physically and deprive me of sleep. For 60 hours we’d be doing these workouts. They’d show me videos of cartel beheadings and torture. The most awful things I’ve ever seen. The whole thing culminated with this six-hour exercise where they’d take over this abandoned meat locker — like this underground maze. They enlisted 15 to 20 Canadian military guys. We did these scenarios. Like hostage situations. We’d use blanks, but it was still crazy.
They showed me how you shoot or enter rooms. The most important part was the attitude. This guy isn’t just a top tier operator. He is a commander.
Did Jared Leto stay in character as the Joker throughout the shoot?
Yeah, he sure did. It was amazing to watch him work. I knew Jared before. I knew him personally. But I didn’t see that guy throughout the whole shoot. I met Mr. J. a couple of times. He was magnetic. He pulled off an amazing performance. The commitment and the concentration that he had was inspiring to watch.
He sent me some presents. He sent me a couple of used condoms. A couple of dildos. Some anal beads. Someone asked me, “Did you send him any presents back?” I’m like, “when someone sends you a used condom, I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t like your game, and I don’t want to play.”
Did the cast bond?
It was pretty much a love fest. When you look at what Jared did, sort of setting himself apart, it’s undeniable that concentration gets results. You look at what Daniel Day-Lewis does and it’s the same thing. The detail of his work and the amount of time he spent practicing with the character. It’s just awesome.
What I think you lose with working in that way is the creativity of the ensemble. You have all these artists, these great artists together, and when you are social and when you are playing around, there’s a sense of humor that you can build together. You understand each other’s idiosyncrasies. Even if there’s a contentious relationship between your characters, there’s a humor that you can put into things. You can build comedy into those relationships. That’s what we were after with the squad.
I heard you all got tattoos together?
Yes. That was a great life decision.
Are you signed for more “Suicide Squad” sequels? Will Rick Flag appear in other DC Comics movies?
We’ll see. Maybe we’ll make more “Suicide Squad” movies. Who knows? The audience will decide.
If there’s like military involved in one of the other films than maybe they’ll call me. You can definitely see how Amanda Waller [the government agent played by Viola Davis] has a place in the other films. Maybe I’ll tag along with her.
There were reportedly a lot of re-shoots to fix the tone of the film and make it funnier. Was that true?
No. We did 95% action. It was just added action. That was a constructed narrative. It surprised me that it gets traction with people who should understand the film business better. Any film with a $125 or $135 million budget always has a block of re-shoots. Some do a week and some do a full month. It’s built into it. When you do a regular film the editor and the director will put together the movie and think, “Oh man, if we just had a little beat. It would elevate that.” But they have to work around it and work with what they have. On these big films they always have the luxury of going back and getting that beat and elevating it even more.
We’re all scheduled for a re-shoot period before we start the film. They put so much money into the shooting of these films and the marketing that to them it’s always worth getting it right.
Have you seen your “Suicide Squad” action figure yet?
I’m pretty much a veteran in the action figure game. I got my “RoboCop.” I got my “Suicide Squad.” It’s what I do.
You seem to do a lot of different types of projects. Indie films, television, big budget adventures. Do you fear typecasting?
That’s the main challenge. I try to do as many roles as I can. My favorite actors play very different kinds of parts. If I were ever to be so lucky to have an audience that was anticipating a film that I was going to do, I would love for them to have a feeling when my film was coming out to be thinking, “I wonder what he’s going to do with this role.”
Suicide Squad Comic Con 2016 panel with Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne, Adam Beach, Karen Fukuhara & David Ayer. Watch more Comic Con 2016 Panels & Interviews
The pranks from the “Suicide Squad” set have been well documented ― specifically in regard to Jared Leto ― but this is definitely a new one.
While the cast was visiting Conan O’Brien this weekend (following their Comic-Con appearance), Joel Kinnaman, who plays Rick Flag in the upcoming supervillain flick, revealed how one prank by Will Smith took an unexpected turn for the erotic.
“They had rain towers that they took from the ground water in Toronto. It was icy cold. We were miserable. And Will had a brilliant idea of getting this bucket of steaming hot water,” Kinnaman explained. “He’d get this little bucket and sneak up to people that were standing, shivering to death, and pour it down their necks. You could see people standing there and then they were like, ahhhhh.”
“It was sensual,” he added, “It turned a little weird.”
Then Smith chimed in, creating a perfect image in our heads of just how erotic the prank turned out to be. Watch the whole interaction above.
“Suicide Squad” is set to hit theaters on Aug. 5.
From the trailer alone, audiences have been promised plenty of stunts, action sequences, and weaponry in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. So with bullets flying in many scenes, it’s no surprise that some of the film’s core cast, which includes Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, and Joel Kinnaman, sustained a few injuries filming these difficult scenes. Kinnaman, who plays Rick Flag, a special forces operative, has plenty of war stories from set.
As he sits down at a cafeteria style table on the Toronto set of the film in June 2015, he adjusts the tape that sticks out of his camo tank top. “That was a shell casing,” he says of his injury. “We were shooting [guns], and the shell casings are burning hot, and one got caught under my shirt. This was last night.”
Ouch. But according to Kinnaman, skin searing shell casings are the least of it. While the scalding hot shells were quite painful, for Kinnaman, nothing compared to being repeatedly hit in the crotch. The 36-year-old explains exactly what went down: “I’m getting tackled by these adversaries, and I’m holding my gun,” he says of the scene. “This was a part of the scene we hadn’t rehearsed, so I didn’t have the right padding, and when you get tackled by four guys while you’re carrying a gun, the gun had a tendency to hit me in the balls every take.”
And during the last take of this particularly invasive scene, something, well, magical happened — but not in a good way. “The gun kind of levitated. I hit the ground, then [the gun] like changed shape in the air, and then it just speared me right in the…” he trails off. “It’s no joke. I almost got castrated.”
Having learned his lesson the hard way, during subsequent days shooting the scene, Kinnaman took extra precautions: “I wore a big ass cup,” he laughs.
Fingers crossed Kinnaman kept all of this… parts… throughout the remainder of shooting.
Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.
Yesterday, Warner Bros. released an extended promo introducing audiences to Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), “one of the scariest characters in the movie” and the mastermind who puts the Suicide Squad together. One of the leaders of that squad is Deadshot (Will Smith). Smith, who’s probably most famous for playing heroes, stars in David Ayer‘s film as the assassin/supervillain. The newest promo tells you all you need to about the character, including the fact only his friends call him by his real name Floyd.
Below, watch the Suicide Squad extended promo.
Suicide Squad stars Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Jared Leto, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, Cara Delevingne, Adam Beach, David Harbour, and Ben Affleck makes an appearance as Batman. The newest footage highlights Smith’s role in the film. He still seems to have his signature, wisecracking charm; it’s just servicing a different kind of role and film this time around.
Here’s the Suicide Squad extended promo:
The commercial is only a minute long, but it is surprising we don’t see Deadshot and Harley Quinn interacting at all. Smith and Robbie are reuniting after sharing plenty of chemistry in Focus, and Ayer has said the two will have a significant amount of screentime together in Suicide Squad.
Based on the above promo and the trailers we’ve seen so far, it’s obvious there will also be plenty of banter and tension between Deadshot and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman). Ayer stated on the set that both characters are “herding cats,” and that “they don’t care” who looks like the squad’s leader. They’re less concerned with their status, more concerned about saving the world.
Ayer and the rest of his squad are making the trip down to San Diego Comic-Con this week. On Saturday, Warner Bros. will show a few clips from the film and Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman. Since Ayer’s film was finished a couple of weeks ago, fans should see some new, completed footage from Suicide Squad.
Here’s the official synopsis:
It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super-Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
Suicide Squad opens in theaters August 5th.