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June 22,2012
Stef   /   1 Comment   •   Interviews

Few relationships have been more riveting and high-stakes this season than the one between police investigators Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) on “The Killing,”AMC’s moody, critically acclaimed crime saga that last year picked up six Emmy nominations, including a nod for Enos.

As corruption and adversity have isolated the pair, making them each other’s sole allies in an increasingly dangerous battle for the truth, fans have become every bit as invested in the survival of their hard-won trust and friendship as in finding out who killed Rosie Larsen.

So it’s a relief to find that in real life, Kinnaman and Enos appear to be exceedingly happy in each other’s company, constantly laughing and finishing each other’s sentences like some kind of giddy, slightly bonkers brother-and-sister duo.

And that’s pretty much the way they describe their bond. “Like a proud sister!” Kinnaman says of Enos’ reaction when she learned he’d landed the lead role in “RoboCop,” MGM’s $100-million movie remake. “She was one of those I most looked forward to telling because I knew she would be 100% happy for me.”

And when Enos was facing auditions for movie roles that she eventually nabbed in “World War Z” (opposite Brad Pitt) and “The Gangster Squad” (opposite Sean Penn), she reports that “Joel would run lines with me in the middle of the night while we were shooting’The Killing.'”

Relations between their two crime-solvers were at an all-time low when the series returned in April, after a key piece of evidence supplied by Holder turned out to be false. Linden was at first too hurt and wary to even confront him. “If he’s a dirty cop, she doesn’t want him to know she has that information,” Enos says of her character. “And since there’s the possibility she’s been completely played by him, she feels very alone.”

But an uneasy trust was restored after Holder realized he’d been duped and used the discovery of the murder victim’s backpack to establish that the corruption lay elsewhere in the police hierarchy. As jeopardy mounted, the bond between the pair became increasingly crucial. The actors say the contrast between their on-screen and real-life relationship was key to making it work.

“The best way to play people who aren’t entirely comfortable with each other is to create a completely comfortable world,” Enos says. “If two actors actually have tension, the work will be less interesting than if there is complete trust between them.”

In the odd logistics of launching a television series, the actors never met until they were at the airport bound for Vancouver, Canada, where the Seattle-set series would be shot. Kinnaman was already a movie star in his native Sweden, and Enos had impressed critics when she played a set of twins on HBO’s”Big Love.” Even so, “we each had no idea who the other was going to be,” says Kinnaman.

“But immediately it was easy,” chimes in Enos. “By the time we landed and had to deal with paperwork, it was like, ‘I understand how to be in the world next to you.'”

It helps that they have similar instincts in approaching their work. “We’re both good listeners, and that’s the key to being present and letting something real occur,” says Kinnaman.

“And we both think that weird, awkward, unattractive human emotion is the best thing out there — and’The Killing’is such a great playroom for that kind of weirdness,” Enos adds. “Neither of us brings vanity to the work — we’re looking for the human frailties.”

That absence of vanity has given the series a visual gravitas from the get-go — its characters are scuffed up rather than prettied up. It worked out well for Enos, since her character’s bulky sweaters and baggy windbreaker helped conceal a real-life pregnancy that was five months along when she arrived on set (her daughter Vesper, with her husband, actor Alan Ruck, will be 2 in September).

“The plan was always to dress Linden the way a cop in that climate would be dressed, but the jacket just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Enos says with a laugh. “By the time we shot the Season 1 finale, it was extra large.”

Enos says the happiness of first-time motherhood — the family lives in Los Angeles but was able to be together in Vancouver throughout production — has helped deepen her character work. “I find the more joy you have in your actual life, the more you’re able to go to those scary, dark places as an actor,” she says.

If anything was a threat to a convincing portrayal of a fraught relationship in a world of unrelenting grimness, the actors say, it was their natural affinity for each other.

“We often had to be reminded to slow down the progression of Linden and Holder’s friendship,” says Enos. “That was the challenge.”

“The directors would tell us, ‘You don’t like each other that much,'” Kinnaman says. “We had a tendency to find the happy places in the script, and that was not exactly the characters’ journey.”

Though executive producer Veena Sud has promised that the murder of Rosie Larsen will be solved by the Season 2 finale this Sunday — after much outcry when there was no resolution at the end of the first season — both say they hope their on-screen partnership can continue beyond that.

“Everybody involved with the show really wants it to keep going,” says Kinnaman.

Even so, they experienced a fleeting sense of sadness while filming the finale. “We had this moment where we looked at each other and thought, ‘Could this be it?'” Enos says. “Because you never know.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

One Response to “‘The Killing’s’ Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman pal around”
  1. Anthony Says:

    Best show ever!!! I am hoping AMC brings it back. Joel you have my vote for the Emmy, I feel like Holder is someone I know in real life, not some TV character, thats how great of a job you did! Can’t wait for Robocop.

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