This isn’t a drill, we got a new shoot! Joel’s looking so good (as always) on the cover of the latest issue of GQ Hype. The interview was done through a Zoom call and it’s mostly focused on the upcoming The Suicide Squad. Check out the interview below and outtakes in our gallery!

BRITISH GQ – When Joel Kinnaman answers my Zoom call, he’s walking briskly through the streets of Venice Beach with his dog, Zoe, a rescue mutt from Mexico. He’s wearing a blue baseball cap and a T-shirt adorned with a baby picture of his fiancée, model Kelly Gale, the sleeves of which are just about obscuring a tattoo of the word “Skwad” on his bicep, which was administered on the set of the first Suicide Squad movie by Will Smith with Margot Robbie’s tattoo gun. (He does not regret it. “It’s a good story,” he says.) 

He’s telling me about the play that saved his career. The sole reason he’s here today, promoting a different, better Suicide Squad movie – an unorthodox, quasi-sequel, quasi-reboot of the 2016 DC Comics film about a group of supervillains manipulated into fighting the good fight – is because of an obscure one-man show called Howie The Rookie by Irish writer Mark O’Rowe. 

In his twenties, three years into a degree at Sweden’s most prestigious drama school, he began to experience debilitating stage fright. He would have panic attacks while on stage and vomit or black out before performances. “I thought maybe I don’t have the constitution to do this, maybe I can’t handle this pressure.” He resolved to overcome his problem through a sort of self-made exposure therapy. He would find the most terrifying stage performance for himself and do it over and over again just to prove to himself that he could. Enter, Howie. It was a gruelling, 90-minute piece, in which he would embody 16 different characters. “Everything hinged on this working and there was something in me that just would not let it fail.” He became obsessed with it and performed it over and over again in front of live audiences, slowly chipping away at his anxiety over time. After that, nothing would ever seem quite so daunting. “It became the foundation of a new kind of confidence that I had, or that I built with that.”

In many ways, that baptism of fire prepared him for much greater stresses he would deal with in his career, from playing the emotionally destroyed lead in a four-hour stage adaptation of Crime And Punishment in Gothenburg (his first proper gig out of acting school) to his first role in America in the beloved drama series The Killing and more recently shouldering the hopes of millions of comic book fanboys. Working on massive blockbusters – The Suicide Squad, he tells me, is the most expensive R-rated movie of all time – comes with its own very particular kind of anxiety. When you’re acutely aware that a shoot day costs £220,000, there’s a truly high-stakes need to perform, knowing that if you fudge your line or miss, you’re letting multiples of most people’s average wage slide down the drain. It can get a little tense. “There are so many moving parts and I don’t want to be the one that sucks.”

The Suicide Squad represents somewhat of a second chance for Kinnaman. Twenty sixteen’s Suicide Squad was considered a creative failure by most of those involved in its making. This time around, Guardians Of The Galaxy mastermind James Gunn takes over for original director David Ayer. Kinnaman reprises his role as military man and Suicide Squad leader Rick Flag, alongside fellow returnees Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Viola Davis. Idris Elba and  John Cena are subbed in for Will Smith and Jared Leto as co-leads.

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December 03, 2020

Joel is Sharp magazine’s final cover star of 2020! The Zoom interview delves a little into the characters that Joel has portrayed over the years. Check it out below, and outtakes in our gallery!

When Joel Kinnaman joins our Zoom call, I’m surprised to see a cloudless sky and shimmering ocean. He tells me that he and his best friend have recently decamped to Chicama, a small coastal town in northwestern Peru, for a holiday after wrapping production of the second season of his Apple TV+ show For All Mankind, which airs in January. “I’m in some kind of surfing paradise, and at the same time being consumed by the election and following that, biting my nails off,” he says, flipping the camera to show me the breathtaking view of the world’s longest wave.

This election represents a pivotal moment in American history. The agonizing process of counting votes in the days leading up to Biden’s win let our imaginations run wild about what the future holds. What does the future of democracy in America look like? How will this election shape the course of history? (Much to Kinnaman’s relief, two days after we speak, Joe Biden is voted president-elect and Kamala Harris, the first Black woman vice president–elect.)

These kinds of “what if” projections about the future are at the core of For All Mankind. The show presents an alternate history of the space race in which the Soviets beat the Americans to the moon. Kinnaman stars as Ed Baldwin, one of NASA’s top astronauts, who led the failed lunar mission, demoralizing NASA but inspiring the Americans to catch up, training women and women of colour — marginalized groups excluded from space exploration at the time — in the process. “The actual space race was kind of a depressing story,” says the Swedish–American actor. “It was like, we went to the moon and that was amazing, and then everyone was hoping and felt we were headed to outer space to continue human exploration, but then it just got dismantled.”

Kinnaman was drawn to the show’s intelligent writing and powerful storytelling. Each season jumps ahead in time, depicting the lasting political and cultural impact of life-changing events. “I thought it was just such a smart way of both telling that story, of leading up to that story, and then where we wanted it to go,” he adds. “It’s a way of telling a historic story with complete creative freedom for where it goes.”

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November 08, 2020

The Informer is finally out in VOD! Check out this interview of Collider with Joel, wherein he discussed the film and where would Stephen Holder might be now.

COLLIDER: The twists and turns in this movie really surprised me.
JOEL KINNAMAN: Glad to hear it. We love this movie. I was so stoked when we got it and with the cast that we were able to put together, so it was really frustrating when the American distribution went bankrupt and it’s been in limbo for awhile. I can’t wait for it to finally reach American audiences.

When something like that happens, how hard is it to deal with when it’s totally out of your control and there’s nothing you can do about it other than wait?
KINNAMAN: It’s a bummer. Of course, you focus on other things but it’s frustrating, especially since we had an international release of this and it got really well-received and did great in a bunch of European countries where it got released, so I was dying for it to come out here but it just sat on the shelf for a while. Fortunately, it got snagged out of its limbo and now people are gonna be able to see it. It’s actually a great time for it to come out because it’s out in a drought of quality new content

When this came your way, what was it that made you want to do it?
KINNAMAN: It was a combination of things. First of all, I thought the story was great. I loved the undercover aspect of it. And then, I just thought the character was super compelling. It’s a man put in a really difficult situation and he’s literally fighting his way back to his family. I thought the character had a lot of layers and nuance, and he’s a real soft, vulnerable family guy. At the same time, he’s put in this situation and he has training from the military, so it makes him effective. His emotional pendulum swings from pretty big extremes. And then, we were able to get such a great cast on board with this film – Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Ana de Armas, and Common.

Then, I thought Andrea [Di Stefano] was a great director. I’d actually read this script a couple of years earlier, in a different iteration when it felt a little bit more like a programmer, and then Andrea really gave the characters more nuance. He shifted some of the more sticky parts of the script and made it more believable. While we were shooting it, he put a lot of emphasis on making it feel realistic. He did a lot of research. We had high-level FBI consultants that supported the way that the FBI business was conducted in the film, and it was the same thing for how the prisons work. We’re not the first film that shows it but you get to see the merit of the modern American prison system that’s overpopulated, where people don’t even have their own cells and they’re in dorms with bunk beds, and the level of insecurity that the inmates are under is portrayed in our film. So, there were a lot of really good elements to this. And of course, in the middle of it was this really white knuckle, hard-boiled action thrill that had a great pace. I thought it was a great opportunity.

Did you have any idea that this had also been based on a Swedish novel (Tre Sekunder by Roslund & Hellström)?
KINNAMAN: I found that out but I was actually already attached to it and had already met with. When I jumped in, I was like, “Okay, so let’s read the novel that it’s based on.” And then, I realized that it’s a Swedish novel and a Swedish character. That actually was a circumstance that I wasn’t aware of. A lot of people thought that that’s why I got attached to it but it wasn’t that, at all. It was pretty cool.

This guy is a family man who seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family. What was it like to form that family bond, not just with Ana de Armas but also with the young actress that plays your daughter?
KINNAMAN: She was fantastic. They did such a great job of casting. She was actually British but she just nailed this American accent. Some kids just have an ear for it and they’re able to do it much quicker than adults. Ana brought so much to it, as well. I hadn’t seen her do much before we played together but I realized really quickly that she was gonna be a real player. She’s super talented and just has an incredible temperament and ability. Also, her Latina background gave her a sense of how family is everything. I think that really resonated for her. You can tell in how strongly she felt about that.

What are some of your personal favorite crime movies or prison movies, and did you take any specific inspiration from an of them?
KINNAMAN: The Profit is probably my favorite prison movie. There’s a Danish movie called R that’s also incredible. That actually came out the same year as The Prophet and it didn’t get so much attention because they had a lot of similarities. Of course, The Shawshank Redemption is the Hollywood fluff version of it but is still one of the greatest movies of all time. I love that movie.

That’s certainly a movie that makes me cry anytime I see it.
KINNAMAN: Me too, at the end when he walks out onto the beach. I’ve always wanted to do a prison film. It’s something that a lot of people, and men in particular, think about. It’s a fantasy that you have, especially growing up, about what it would be like to end up in prison and how you would fare. It’s one of those nightmare prospects that you have. I always wanted to explore that in a film scenario and not in reality.

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Joel spoke with Rolling Stone as part of their The First Time interview series, wherein he discussed his latest movie, The Secrets We Keep, and the upcoming The Suicide Squad.

July 26, 2020

As previously announced, For All Mankind held a panel as part of the Comic-Con@Home. The cast members who joined in on the fun are  Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Wrenn Schmidt, Sonya Walger, and Krys Marshall. An official teaser was also released! You can watch both below.

October 30, 2019

For the second time this year, Joel appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, this time for the promotion of For All Mankind as it nears its series premiere. He also talked about the “accidental” Instagram video and meeting Barack Obama. Check out the interview below, along with photos and screencaps in our gallery!