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January 31,2012
Melanie Jo   /   1 Comment   •   Headlines & Rumors

Thanks to hibec, here is the interview:

Snabba Cash gave him a Guldbagge (Swedish movie award), respect on the street and a golden ticket to the dream factory. Joel Kinnaman lives the dream. King’s Rebecca Åhlund meets the Hollywood favorite to talk about his entourage-life, the very hyped sequel to Snabba Cash and his 32 years in daily therapy.

When we met for the first time, Joel had just eaten five hard-boiled eggs. In a freaking hot studio in Hammarby sjöstad, with the autumn sun sipping through the window he was photographed for KING Magazine. He’s sitting on a high stool while the assistant is holding up an umbrella to keep back the sunlight. Joel looks patient. He’s relaxed, pleased and not at all sweaty, even tho he is wearing a much to hot designer suit. The reason for the photo shoot, and this article, is first and foremost the Sweden-premiere of The Darkest Hour, an american sci fi-movie with Joel in a supporting role as a Swedish, mean businessman in the middle of an alien invasion.

– It’s no carrying role, but I wanted to work with Emilie Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby, because I like what they’ve done before. I mostly just walk around being scared and too afraid to do anything. It’s interesting to see how people like him react in a disaster situation. My character is constantly panicked during the entire movie.

When the photo shoot is done, we leave the studio in a Audi A7 where you basically have to lie down. While on the road we listen a Lil Wayne song about pussy, money and weed. Five hard boiled eggs apparently didn’t get Joel very far. While in the restaurant the staff quickly switch from very nice to extremely nice when they realize it’s JW from Snabba Cash that wants to order fish and a Loka (sparkly water) for lunch. We sit down, put our phones on the table (they’re on mute of course) and Joel stick a piece of nicotine chewing gum on the table. He had just stopped smoking.

– There’s no point in have an addiction that’s only about suppressing abstinence. I seem to miss that “addiction-gene”, I mean, I’ve been a bartender and even if I’ve been drinking a lot for longer periods I’ve always been able to stop. It’s never been difficult to break bad habits for me.

When we meet, he has a couple of days off from the filming of Snabba Cash II. The new movie is directed by Babak Najafi, who’ve previously directed the Guldbagge-winning movie Sebbe. The first Snabba Cash movie didn’t exactly follow the first book, and the second movie won’t follow the second book (Aldrig fucka upp. Eng: “Never fuck up”) either. Joel describes the new movie as harder. More violence, the character go trough harder stuff and the desperation grows stronger.

Poor JW, you can’t help liking that character.
– Yeah, he is very sympathetic. He’s missing so much in himself and he has such bad self esteem and a lot of unhealed wounds. That makes him do all kinds of stuff…But he has a good heart.

That’s exactly what if thought about your other characters. They’ve been kind of sketchy but they’ve always had a good heart.
– I don’t like to divide good and evil. No one is born evil, it’s dangerous to go around demonizing people. Bad actions get worse if you see that it’s a good person who acted on them.

JW didn’t just give him a Guldbagge for best male role, more friend requests on facebook and hotter party invitations, but also a ticket to Hollywood and what looks like a beaming acting career. He has already acted in several movies in USA, and a large role in the tv-series The Killing.

Snabba Cash changed your life, you could say. What’s the biggest difference from two years ago?
– It’s a lot more unstructured now. I have my apartment in Stockholm, but when I’m finished with this movie I’m going back to USA. I don’t live anywhere. And it’s a lot bigger there, of course. In Sweden you film in houses, that are already there, but in america they can spend weeks building a city or prepare for a single fight scene. It’s different in Sweden and with Snabba Cash. No fuss, just a small team working together, like a family.

Are you abandoning Sweden after this?
– Absolutely not. My plan is to keep my apartment here, and come back to Sweden for a couple of months every year.

Being an actor is of course different in USA. Joel Kinnaman Inc employs about six agents; three movie agents and three for tv, one manager, a managers assistant, a publicist, a business manager and a lawyer. I’m a typical swede, so I of course associate these people as “his people”, but Joel seem to genuine like them.

– I don’t feel any pressure from them. The day I want to do theater just to get inspiration and evolve, they will think it’s just fine. If we didn’t understand each other we would never be able to work together.

How much Entourage is the life in LA?
– Haha, maybe 25%? Weird meetings, parties, it’s all there, but it all depends how you relate to it. I’m quite skeptical and try take everything with a bit of humor. Like, it is what it is. I’d rather go to a nice place where they play good music than to the party Perez Hilton think is happening just because you get a free pair of sun glasses.

Daniél Espinosa, who directed the first part of Snabba Cash, has just made his Hollywood debut as director for the movie Safe House with Denzel Washington. Espinosa managed to give Joel a supporting role. So now he’s acting with one of his biggest idols.

– I was sitting in my trailer, daydreaming about what our first meeting would be like. How I would sit and listen to old soul music and Denzel would walk by and be like: “Hey, aren’t you that Swedish kid? You listen to this shit? This is good shit!” and I would say: “Oh man, you’ve been such a huge inspiration. I watched Malcom X and you got me so confused, because at dinner I saw devils everywhere!”

(To get this you need to know that in the movies Malcom X calls white people “devils”, and the people around the dinner table in the Kinnaman house were, that’s right, white people. There for: “devils”.)

– He’s not a social person, Denzel. He’s famous for not talking to anyone, barely the director. The day after I, Daniél and Denzel got some time for our selfs and Daniél said something like “Joel is your biggest fan” and Denzel smiled and I started with “Oh man, you’ve been such a huge inspiration. I watched Malcom X and you got me so confused…” But then his security guard called him and he walked away and all I got to say was that he got me confused. It was all completely wrong.

Now he’s chewing nicotine chewing gum again. I don’t know if it’s the one he put on the table or if it’s a new one.

So are you rich now?
– I don’t even tell my closest friends how much I make. But I get by.

Do you fly business if you have to pay for yourself?
I have the miles so I can often upgrade. But yes, I fly business on the long flights. You can’t sit in the back when you’re 6.2 if you fly to LA seven times a year.

He has finished his dinner, taken a phone call (“Sho, I’m doing an interview. No, you can’t come over, I just told you I’m doing an interview.”) and suddenly realizes he’s in a hurry to catch the Göteborg train. I let him leave and pay the check. The staff is still happy about getting to serve Mr. Kinnaman.

Joel Kinnaman is a laid back and nice guy. I saw him at Way Out West this summer; girls were watching him, giggling while Joel was standing (he looks like he’s leaning back a bit even when he stands up straight) with a group of friends talking and goofing off. maybe they were talking about about gangster stuff. The police claims that they almost always find a book by Jens Lapidus when they search criminals houses.

There’s something special about Joel. Sometimes he looks just fine and happy, and sometimes he looks like he could explode any second. Maybe that’s what they call charisma? When I talk to him he has his guard up, but he tells me that’s he doesn’t really like walking around town by himself anymore. It can get chaotic when Sweden’s own Hollywood star comes walking.

A couple of days later we meet up at his apartment in Södermalm. It’s white with dark wood and a couch big enough to live in. We listen to Pussy, money, weed again and he picks up a Polly (Swedish candy) and some dust off the floor.

– I’m really sorry about how this place looks.

He’s wearing a pair of baggy Reebok shorts and a Hoodie. And if he wasn’t wearing a pair of Birken-Stock loafers, this would probably be a typical outfit for Holder in The Killing. It’s soon time for him to get back to Vancouver to shoot the second series of the thriller drama. The Killing has put Joel in a good position in the american market.

Yet there were some people complaining about your accent in The Killing.
– Swedes are very sensitive when it comes to that. But I’m my own biggest critic and wanted everything to be perfect. I asked to listen to what I said so I could change anything I didn’t like, but the production didn’t let me. They thought everything was perfect so they didn’t let me listen. I’m irritate about two lines in the first episode and one in the third, they’re not a hundred percent. Other than that, it’s all perfect.

And that’s not weird at all. Since he had an american dad Joel learnt both English and Swedish at the same time, went to an English speaking kindergarten and spent some time in Texas as a exchange student.

-I don’t know if many knows that I’m Swedish. USA is such a young nation. People say “I’m German” if their grandmothers grandfather is from Germany. If you say you’re from Sweden it could just as well mean your grandfather father spoke Swedish. Everyone’s and immigrant.

Joel grew up in Stockholm with five sisters. His father worked as a computer consult and his mother as a psychotherapist.

Oh, you went to therapy?
– Haha yeah, at my mom’s, every night for 32 years! Na, but we talked about psychological things. Things that could be good to think about while acting. I was a pretty anxious teen, but who isn’t. She was great to have around then. I want to go to therpy sometime, it’s just that I’m really happy right now.

After his first acting job as Lina Englunds little brother in the 80’s series Storstad (Bigtown), Joel didn’t give acting another thought. He became a troublemaker in High School cut class and got into fights. He says he hated it.

– It was really hard. Either someone was out to get you, or you were out to get someone else and then you had to fight them if they came any where near you. The secondary school at Södra Latin was calmer, but Joel was “too mature to study” and only went part time and graduated without final grades. After that he started to work in a bar as a bartender.

– You get streetsmart pretty fast, but it’s not really a healthy environment.

After that he swept rooftops in Oslo, worked at a beer-factory, got himself a job as a bar manager in the French alps (which was catastrophic) and went to Asia. The inspiration to act he mostly got from his bigger sister Melinda. She was a success in the movie “Mitt liv som hund” (“My life as a dog”) when Joel was five. She is one o his biggest inspirations today. What made him want to act was also his friend Gustaf Skarsgård, who went to acting school when Joel got home from Laos. He decided to apply to the school.

– I was so happy that I got into the school that I laid flat down in the street. I don’t know why, but I got up just in time to not get hit by a car.

And instead of getting run over, he became one of Sweden’s hottest actors. Hot, by the way. Joel Kinnaman is single, and this may sound like an understatement, but some girls think he looks just fine. In the extremely empty Flashback-thread (Swedish forum) about Joel you can read comment like: “Who gives a shit if he looks good, he’s an awesome actor!”.

Do you know what I mean?
– This thing about how I look..It kinda feels like The Emperor’s New Clothes, like now I’m supposed to be hot and it get’s all hyped up. I feel good about myself, and I guess it’s good that people think I look okay if they’re gonna watch a whole movie with me.

But you have to get a couple of unusual proposals?
– Actually no. Some people want to take pictures, and that’s about it.

Ah, a reluctant hunk.
– It’s all about choices. If you get caught up in that, that’s how people will see you. I’ve said no to that. It’s easy to make yourself ugly in movies. Yeah! That’s what I’m gonna do! Make an ugly movie.

You’ve said that you play parts that play parts.
– Everybody plays parts, I think, all the time. It depends on who you’r dealing with and who you meet. You invent yourself every time.

But when do you fell most like your self?
– With my family and close friends, I guess…But I can feel really comfortable at locations too, when I’m doing my job. It’s almost like meditation. You get to some sort of deep within yourself, even if it’s in front of an audience. I think I feel the most present then.

He’s eating knäckebröd (hard bread) with senapssill (mustard herring) and asks me if I want some tea. He switches the music again. He mostly listens to 90’s Hip Hop, dancehall, and old soul. And he likes to dance. He says he doesn’t get out that much, be when he does, he gets photographed a lot, he says. Later the same day he’s going to Raija in Vasastan (part of Stockholm) to buy some old Indian cabinet. He wants to get out of the “just moved in”-mode he’s been in for the last three years. I have to hold my self from writing what a bachelor pad this look like, but it is. The bachelor switches to another song and say that “this is the song about my life”. Then we listen to Fashawn rap about being a “Samsonite Man”.

– I like it a lot. Just being. But it has it’s price. I have a hard time landing and it feels like I’m always on the run. But then again, I’m starting to make myself feel more like home when I’m away. I live in apartments instead of hotels, put up some posters and buy food to cook.

Do you cook a lot of food?
-Hm, not for myself. Most salad and a piece of steak. But when I’m in a relationship I cook a lot.

Why did you eat five hard boiled eggs before we met last time?
– There was nothing else healthy to eat! Only bread.

On his counter stands a jar of protein powder and he gives me a recipe of a smoothie. He doesn’t know that I’m probably the only person in Sweden who doesn’t get what’s so great about smoothies. We talk about tattoos. On his right arm he has a half-ripped off FTW-tattoo. “It’s for the movie” he says. I guess JW deiced to “fuck the world” while in prison. Above that there’s a real tattoo. A nice Shakespeare quote in Joel’s own hand writing. On the inside of the same arm there’s “Ett liv” (“One Life”) in old school handwriting. On the other arm there’s a cpver up of some old tribal tattoo, all done by Bleckan at Salong Betong.

Before we say goodbye Joel changes his clothes. He even changes his pants two time because the outfit “matched too much” the first time. He chooses a pair out of his thirty pairs of sneakers.

Where are you living in two years?
– I’m living in New York and doing most of my work in America. But I’ll go home for a couple of months a year.

And in five years?
– By then I’ve directed my first movie.

You’ve said that you want a lot of kids.
– I do! I got that from my own family. We were a big family with a lot of friends. It makes me happy, it’s what I want. But right now…I want to be a good father. And I need to find me a babymama.

In the hallway there’s two black suitcases. There about to get packed again. When he got home from Vancouver his things, his life, was all packed in to 8 suitcases.Maybe he can leave some of them in New York next time. But after all, home is where you boil your eggs.

One Response to “Joel Kinnaman, Adrift – King Magazine Interview”
  1. ebony beard Says:

    I just love this guy I had a lot of assumptions about joel after reading this it seems like I hit him on the nose
    PS I would love to see u other than in my dreams

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