Joel Kinnaman

(Charles Joel Nordström Kinnaman)

Joel Kinnaman
Joel Kinnaman
  • Born: November 25, 1979
  • Nationality: Swedish American
  • Profession: Actor

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Charles Joel Nordström Kinnaman is a Swedish and American actor who first gained recognition for his roles in the Swedish film Easy Money and the Johan Falk crime series. Kinnaman is known internationally for his television roles as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC's The Killing, Takeshi Kovacs in the first season of Altered Carbon, and Governor Will Conway in the U.S. version of House of Cards. He has also played Alex Murphy in the 2014 RoboCop remake, and Rick Flag in the film adaptation of Suicide Squad (2016), based on the DC Comics anti-hero team of the same title.

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A big moment for me was when I did a play that was a new adaptation of Dostojevskij's 'Crime and Punishment,' and I played Raskolnikov. It was actually the first thing I did when I got out of acting school.
A lot of the friends I had went on to become criminals.
All of our colleges are free in Sweden, but this acting program is the second most expensive education for the government. It's difficult to get in. There are around 1,500 applicants, and 10-12 applicants are accepted each year. I was accepted, and I studied there for five years. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Government
An amateur can be great in front of the camera, but you need an education to get on stage where you have full control as an actor. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
As actors, we're like these vagabond artists: we have to be invited to perform, so if you don't have a choice of options, it's very hard to define yourself.
Being an actor in movies is a lot about the power of your imagination and making the circumstance real to you so the audience will feel that it's real. Power ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Danish is a different language, even though Danish people understand Swedes, and very few Swedes understand Danish.
For somebody in my neighborhood to aspire or revere a person from the upper class, that is the most ugly and pathetic behavior you could exhibit.
H&M makes it easy for a guy to look great every single day and create a personal style. Their men's collection always gives me a choice of how I want to dress, whether it be sharp in a suit and polo-neck, or more relaxed in jeans and a tweed jacket.
Have you seen these Japanese hospital droids, or humanoids, or whatever they call it? They've perfected the skin, and the skin looks so real. They have these motors between the eyes for when they smile. It's just mind-blowing.
I always identified myself as non-Swedish. I was never discriminated against, because I looked Swedish and speak without an accent. But I had an outsider's perspective.
I always look for good stories and good characters, and if they're placed in a whodunit, then I'm interested.
I don't reflect on sort of the age of the roles that I get. It's usually just what plays into what's believable - 'Am I believable at this age?'
I don't think being a star has ever been part of the plan. But I always want to do really good work, even when I made career moves with projects that made more sense in sort of a career way than in an artistic way... like I did with 'The Darkest Hour.' Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I don't think there have been many alien movies where the actors have actually seen the aliens. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I feel like I've got the best job in the world. I just feel so fortunate to get paid to be a kid and play with my friends. So if it's rough or a little bit hot, you just have to deal with that.
I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Sweden, which, during my teens, gentrified and is now completely middle class and even upper middle class.
I hate pork rinds. I couldn't imagine how anybody would ever get the idea of taking skin from a pig and frying it and then trying to sell it to people. And then people actually buy it to eat it. That is the true sign of the decline of the human race.
I have a lot of funny friends, and we joke a lot, but I've never really played comedic parts. Humor
I like L.A., but it's just too many people in the same business everywhere you go. You lose perspective. Business, Commerce & Finance
I look at characters to see if they have some contrasts to play with; I think that's always what I'm looking for in characters: ones that have a wide range of expression.
I love 'Breaking Bad.' I'd watch Bryan Cranston read the phone book, for days. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love 'Starship Troopers.' I've seen it ten times. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love watching Samuel L. Jackson do anything, but for me, Gary Oldman is the grandmaster of the game. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I loved 'The Artist.' I thought it was fantastic.
I miss Swedish meatballs, but you can get them pretty much anywhere.
I miss the Swedish women on the first day of spring cause they all just blossom in the most incredible way. Women
I read a couple of books about neuroscience and the relationship between the mind and the body.
I really want to live in New York. That's the city of my dreams.
I speak English with my dad and Swedish with my mom; it's quite schizophrenic. Families, Children & Parenting
I think for a lot of people that had seen me do 'Snabba Cash', after watching 'The Killing,' I think they got a sense that I could do different kinds of characters.
I think I'm a boxer, but then when I get hurt, I'll start scrapping.
I think I've seen the first 'RoboCop' like 15 or 20 times. I'm like a kid that way.
I think that in Sweden and a lot of European countries, there's this whole mythology of the wounded artist: that you can't really do any great art unless you're suffering. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I think 'The Wire' is my all-time favorite TV show. It's so brilliant, the way it critiques society, and how it handles that everybody who gets power loses their moral code and stops going to the root of the problem and just tries to maintain their own power. Society ;Power
I usually have pretty good intuition on projects that I work on. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I was a Swedish guy who listened to Too Short.
I was on a Swedish soap opera when I was 10.
I went to high school in Texas for one year, my senior year. My parents wanted me to get out of Stockholm because I was running with the wrong crew. They wanted me to get back to my roots.
I would like to be able to do as many of my own stunts where I can.
If I play a villain, I try to find his lightness and his good side. And if I play a hero or a good guy, I'll try to find his darkness or his flaws. Because I don't believe in good and evil. I believe in grays.
I'm a bit like a chameleon with my accent.
I'm a crybaby.
I'm a physical actor in that I start with a physical sketch of the character. I find it easier to find inspiration from the outside in. If I find the character's tensions and the way he carries himself or looks, that's going to affect how I talk. So that's how I start to create that person.
I'm a pretty good chess player.
I'm a pretty light and light-spirited person; I'm not a depressed guy.
I'm battling with keeping my narcissism at bay as it is, so Twitter was not a good thing for that.
I'm happy that people have watched and appreciated my work. That's why I'm doing it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I'm not a method actor per se, but if I'm playing a character that, at its core of its persona, has experiences I don't have, I try to search out and get firsthand experiences of similar sorts so I have something to fantasize about.
In most scripts, one or two characters have a lot of colors.
In philosophy, they talk a lot about humans being actual organic machines, and the idea of free will is something that we've made up. We actually don't have free will. We're acting according to our programming as organic mechanisms.
In Sweden, I went to an English school, where there was a mishmash of people from all over the world. Some were diplomatic kids with a lot of money, some were ghetto kids who came up from the suburbs, and I grew up in between. There's a community of second generation immigrants, and I became part of that because I had an American father. Money, Coins & Minting
In Sweden, there's a lot of talk of gender equality. That discussion isn't as prevalent in the U.S. I feel that successful American women are tougher than Swedish women - they create their space. Women ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
In terms of whether my mom was influential, I think she instilled a certain way of thinking in me quite early: having a reflective mindset regarding my actions and trying to find the underlying reasons to behavior. I think that's quite helpful when you're trying to understand a character.
In the first test screening of 'RoboCop,' it tested very high. Then they asked the people why they liked it, and the first answer was, 'I liked it because it was political.' And the second answer was because, 'It feels like it deals with current affairs.' And the third answer was, 'Because it feels emotional.'
It's hard to act with just your jaw.
It's so scary to go on stage. I used to throw up before I went on stage, every time. Time
It's technically demanding to shoot in 3-D. It's an extra element. Also, just the size of the cameras. They look like these 'Transformers' monsters; they are incredibly big, many of them.
It's very nice to be in a show where your vanity is completely out of the picture.
I've followed Gary Oldman his whole career... I've watched the movies he's directed, like 'Nil by Mouth' - I've seen that five times! Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I've hurt people unnecessarily when it was about my own insecurities. But you have to make those mistakes to become a better person.
I've learned to steer away from the wrong kind of woman for me.
Jose Padilha is a wonderful director.
Mid-range to low-budget movies have to have a name in the lead to get financing for it. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Moving in is almost a bigger step than getting married.
My father is American and deserted the Vietnam War. War & Peace
My impression was, 'This Hollywood thing doesn't seem too hard.'
My parents got married when I was 12.
My sister was an actress when I was a kid - she still is a successful stage actress in Sweden.
Nobody wants to be depressed - everybody's trying to feel better; when they strive and fail, it's all the more poignant.
Sometimes if you start a relationship when you're young, you're not as fully developed as a person. You need a relationship that lets you develop in different ways. You need to bounce off different people.
Swedes are a really humble and shy people in many ways, but I think it's pretty much the same as in the U.S. Little girls want to take photographs with me at lunch.
'The Killing' has a really great combination of qualities: Even though it's very sad and deals with mourning and grief, it's still exciting. It's about real people and it doesn't shy from the painful points of life. Life
The north of Sweden is very socialist and poor. They feel left out and despise Stockholm in many ways because Stockholm has become new liberals and much more Americanized.
The original 'RoboCop' was X-rated, and then they had to cut it down so it became R-rated, and Verhoeven claimed that actually made the movie more violent, because it's what you don't see that actually scares you.
The way I live my life or conduct myself when I have a problem is very different from many of the characters I play. Life
There's a lot of neuroscience now raising the question, 'Is all the intelligence in the human body in the brain?', and they're finding out that, no, it's not like that. The body has intelligence itself, and we're much more of an organic creature in that way.
We all can relate to people's weaknesses. We might put up a facade that everything is perfect but none of us are. When we see that weakness in somebody else, we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.
We are all a unique person with everyone we meet.
We don't know why we are here and the context of our role in the universe, and the thought of an infinite universe. It's something the human mind can't really grasp. It's statistically impossible that there's not life on other planets. Life
We have nobility in Sweden, and it comes from the old British aristocracy.
We remake 'Hamlet' all the time. That's sort of what we do, humans. Time
We retell our favorite stories. That's what we've done since we were sitting around campfires. It's a part of the human spirit. It doesn't have to be negative to creativity. It can be completely opposite. That's how you can break new ground: by rethinking something that's already been done.
We're all a big hippie family so I got five sisters and a bunch of different mothers. Not really, but my sisters' mothers are all good friends with my mother. We're a big family, 25 people. Families, Children & Parenting
What I enjoy most with acting is when it's a good scene with one or two other actors, and you feel a strong connection, and you don't know how you're going to respond, and everybody is listening to each other and getting affected by each other, and even though you've rehearsed it many times, it feels like it's happening right now.
What we did wrong on 'RoboCop,' we just did something new and didn't really take into account what the fans really loved about the original.
When I first came to the States, I thought I had a perfect American accent, and then I was abruptly becoming aware that it wasn't. So I did have to work on it a little bit, but I was hesitant working on it because I thought it was good. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When I first heard 'Robocop' was going to be remade. I said, 'Yeah, that's interesting. I'll probably watch that at some point, but I'm not interested at all to be in it.'
When it's a moral grey zone, the audience has to think about what they feel and what they think is right or wrong. You want to affect your audience and make them think.