Altered Carbon is featured in the Annual 2019 issue of SFX magazine, as one of the TV shows that have made this year one of the most exciting years for sci-fi and fantasy. Check out scans in our gallery!
Interview: Joel Kinnaman Talks ‘Altered Carbon’ and ‘Hanna’
After the reports saying that Joel is done with Altered Carbon, he spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and clarified that nothing is official yet.
For his part, Kinnaman acknowledges that he approached Kovacs with the understanding that his time as the character wouldn’t last beyond a single season, but offers an asterisk: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does, really. Season two hasn’t been picked up yet, so who knows?”
“If it was a cool story, for sure,” he added when asked if he would want to continue on as Takeshi Kovacs. “I loved making this show. I had a great experience. The feedback has been fantastic. But I have no idea what’s going on with the second season.”
Hanna’s production is expected to run until July 12, 2018. There has to be room for more Altered Carbon after that, right? Here’s the full interview with THR:
In approaching the complicated world of Altered Carbon, what was your entry point into the show’s universe and the character of Kovacs, specifically?
There’s a lot of sci-fi stuff to wrap your head around, but when you’re preparing for the character, you have to strip all of that away. You have to peel the layers of the onion until you get down to the real heart of the character. It’s a person that is constantly dealing with loss and has made himself numb to that feeling, and therefore doesn’t care about anyone. He won’t allow himself to feel things for other people. Throughout his whole life, everyone who has ever mattered to him has been taken away from him. That’s the problem for Kovacs, in this period of his life. He’s confronted with a situation where he once again has nobody in his life who matters. Everyone he loves is dead. All of the sudden, these new people he’s using for his own gain start meaning something to him. That’s something he wants to avoid at all costs. I tried to dig down into that.
There’s not so much you can do with him being an Envoy and part of the rebellion. It was more about boiling down to his human qualities. He’s a man who was never allowed to be a boy. To me, that means he’ll always be a boy in some way. He’s someone who has raised himself. He’s done a lot of things that are very awful. It’s someone who carries a lot of self-loathing. To me, when I play a person who is often sarcastic and doesn’t want to engage in the world, and doesn’t want to show any emotion, or doesn’t want to show people that he feels anything…to me, those are markers that this is a person who has actually been really hurt, and is trying to keep those emotions away.
Was your approach to playing Kovacs markedly different from how you would normally approach a character, since you’re playing just the latest in a long line of bodies for Takeshi Kovacs? How did you tackle the physicality?
It was a tricky thing. Usually the way I work is I often work on the physical body language, the tension. That’s usually where my imagination takes me when I start building a character. I start by thinking, is this a confident person? Where in the body is the tension of this person? If the tension is in the shoulders, does it make the head come forward? Maybe he looks at other people like this, a little bit hunched over from the side, so he’s actually a little shy, but he’s also aggressive. All of that, the physical life, starts to feed into the emotional life. Here, there’s so many layers to that, that it was almost hard to decipher. You’re someone with a physical inclination about how you normally feel in a body, and then all of the sudden you’re put into another body. That body has physical memories that are affecting you. It suddenly becomes very freeing. You’re freed up to do pretty much whatever you want. I saw him as a person who carried a lot of sadness, but was also very physically able. I made him a little hunched over, but at the same time, strong. I looked at a lot of big cats.
Good call. Kovacs is definitely a cat person more than a dog person.
For sure. (Laughs.) I was looking at a lot of lions and tigers. They’re very relaxed. If you look at them, they almost look a little sad. Almost like they don’t care about anything. It’s very powerful. When something happens and they need to be active, they react very quickly and can be very dangerous. That’s how I was looking at it.
Did you collaborate with Will Yun Lee on creating Kovacs, since he’s playing his original sleeve?
Will came in right at the tail end [of production]. He was prepping to get ready to shoot right as I was wrapping up. They showed him footage of what we had shot. He asked if there were any physical mannerisms I was doing that he could pick up on. We found a couple of things that he could do, so we could create a common thread. He did an amazing job. A really great performance.
You trained hard for the action scenes, learning martial arts, for instance. How much has that training stuck with you since walking away from the role?
It was one of the big gifts that came with this project and this job: digging into the action part of it, and the martial arts. It’s become a big part of my life now. It became part of something I was already doing, in a sense. I’ve realized I’m always happiest in life when I’m working on a role, because then your whole life is seen through this filter, through the curiosity of a new role, and trying to get as much information about a role as you can — always learning new things. When I didn’t have a role to work on, when I was in between jobs, I would feel like I had much less purpose. I would feel a little empty in a way. Now, after finding martial arts…it’s something I had found even before that, really, that I should always be learning something new. Different hobbies. The process makes me feel good. Now, martial arts has just been the perfect thing. I’ve been training a lot since I shot Altered Carbon. It’s remained a part of my life since then.
‘Altered Carbon’ Press Conference
Joel attended a press conference held for Altered Carbon last February 1st. Check out some gorgeous high-quality photos of Joel taken at the event in our gallery!
‘Altered Carbon’ is Now Available for Streaming
The long wait is over. All 10 episodes of Altered Carbon are now available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. Let the binge-watch begin! Check out our gallery for additional high-quality stills from the first season.
‘Altered Carbon’ World Premiere
Joel and Cleo attended the world premiere of Altered Carbon last night. There were also cool sets inspired by or from the show present at the event and the cast took photos with them, of course. Check out photos in our gallery!
Joel Kinnaman on ‘Watch What Happens Live’
Joel’s episode on Watch What Happens Live aired yesterday. There are no clips from his interview yet, but you can check out our gallery for some high-quality photos of Joel arriving at and inside the studios!