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March 12,2015
Melanie Jo   /   0 Comments   •   Headlines & Rumors

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.”

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