Mr Joel Kinnaman is hungry. As soon as MR PORTER’s photoshoot has wrapped, the 6ft 2in Swede jaywalks across Main Street in Downtown LA and straight into the first restaurant he sees. “Bäco Mercat? Fine. Table for two, please. And I’ll have the steak medium-rare, the Hamachi crudo, the shrimp and the lentil salad.”

The waitress smiles. “OK, then, that’s plenty for two. You know that everything here is meant to be shared?”

“No, that’s just for me,” says Mr Kinnaman, giving her a blank stare. “I’m really hungry.”

He’s not kidding. Mr Kinnaman is bulking up right now. So much so, that MR PORTER’s stylist had to go up a size on the Ermenegildo Zegna collection he is modelling to mark the brand’s arrival on site.

It’s 5.30pm, and time for his second lunch, just a couple of hours before his first dinner, which will be a pound of meat or fish. “I need to make 215lb by November,” he says. “That’s when we start shooting Altered Carbon. It’s Netflix’s biggest show so far, its answer to Game Of Thrones. I have to be ready. In my opening scene I come out in a loin cloth and fight six people.”

So he’s shaving, presumably, like a serious bodybuilder? “Totally. All about the shaving. And baby oil. I carry a jug with me just in case.”

Altered Carbon is a hard, R-rated sci-fi set 500 years in the future. Bodies are dispensable, our personalities are held in microchips and the rich are crushing the poor. A classic dystopia. “A lot of comparisons with Blade Runner,” he says, “but with lots more sex, violence and dismemberment.”

It also goes to show just how high Mr Kinnaman is flying these days. “I was the first one to be cast,” he says. “Projects are being cast around me now.”

We’d never heard of Mr Kinnaman until his breakthrough role in The Killing in 2011. Movies followed, notably RoboCop, but also “a couple of others that didn’t pop”. And then last year, the tide turned. He made the indie thriller Edge Of Winter, in which he played an unstable and dangerous father. He joined the House Of Cards ensemble as the Republican candidate and biggest threat yet to President Underwood’s ambitions. And this August, he’ll star in Suicide Squad, a DC Comics extravaganza with nine leads, including Messrs Will Smith and Jared Leto. Mr Kinnaman plays Rick Flag, the head of a team of villains, a part that was originally meant for Mr Tom Hardy, but he was too busy making The Revenant.

“I’m happy to take Tom’s leftovers,” he says, tucking in to the skirt steak. “There’s a lot of tasty food on that floor.”

It’ll mean global fame, action figures, little kids chasing him down the street. But Mr Kinnaman is hungry metaphorically as well as literally, and happy to take whatever comes with it. “Oh I’m ready,” he says. “I’m going to go full colonial, and start saving people by touching their foreheads. I’m going to wear long white robes.”

Mr Kinnaman wasn’t born into acting. He doesn’t have one of those Mickey Mouse Club stories. Twenty years ago, when he was 16, he dropped out of school and was hanging out with a gang of petty criminals in what he jokingly calls “southside Stockholm”. He grew up in a sprawling, hippyish family. His American father was a military deserter in the Vietnam War, who sought refuge in Sweden, where he had a number of children by a number of women. Mr Kinnaman grew up with five sisters.

It was tough. His dad used to beat him. “We’re good now. I’m working on a film about his life with a Swedish director. I’m going to play him. But see, he was beaten by his parents, too. And in my teenage years, I was definitely testing the boundaries, so…” He shrugs. “You know, hanging out and smoking weed. I had a lot of anger in me, and I was insecure. I was really skinny and I used to get bullied, so it felt good to bully other people. That made me feel stronger.”

Read entire interview at Mr. Porter website!

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