Joel Kinnamen’s best known role to date is playing street-wise Seattle detective, Stephen Holder, in the AMC whodunit drama, The Killing. This may all change very soon for the 32-year-old Swede who landed the lead in MGM’s reboot of Robocop. Yes, that 80’s sci-fi movie by Paul Verhoeven (Showgirls, Total Recall, Basic Instinct) about a cop who is fatally shot only to be brought back to life as a cyborg. The new version will be directed by Jose Padilha and starts shooting in September. The cast includes Gary Oldman, Samuel Jackson and Hugh Laurie.
Kinnamen recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter (read full interview here) about The Killing, his duel citizenship and his fellow Swedes in the business.
He talks about how he has both American and Swedish citizenship.
“My father is American and deserted the Vietnam War. He came to Sweden to start a family. I grew up there, going to a public school where the education was in English and spoke Swedish at home with my parents. We are one of the only countries to not dub TV and movies, so I grew up reading English subtitles and learned the language really quickly”.
He reveals How he ended up auditioning for the part of Stephen Holder for The Killing.
“I’d been in the States, trying to get the acting ball rolling but unsuccessfully. I think I had faced more rejection in five months there than a normal person does in a whole lifetime. So I went back to Sweden, and my manager in L.A. sent me the Killing script. I thought it was really good. She said, ‘You’ve got to put your stuff on tape.’ I sent it in, this was January 2010; they liked it and wanted me to come in to read. But I got the clothes all wrong. This guy, Holder, is a homicide detective, so he’s gotta wear a suit, right? They said, ‘No. No. Can you wrinkle the shirt or something?’ So bad. But then they had me come in one more time to read for Veena Sud and [director] Patty Jenkins, and I nailed it”.
He talks about when he met his The Killing co-star, Mireille Enos.
“Actually on the flight up to Vancouver after we both got the roles. We had no initial ‘chemistry read,’ but it instantly worked. It’s my favorite work relationship I’ve ever had. She’s a remarkable person. She makes acting look so easy.”
He talks about the new Robocop will be more like Prometheus in how it questions what it is like to be human and how Hollywood can be a small town for Swedish actors.
It’s gonna be a lot of action-futuristic stuff, but raise questions about what it is to be a human. Like Prometheus, which I just saw. I frickin’ loved it. I’m so proud of [Prometheus actress] Noomi Rapace, who’s a friend of mine.
(Laughs.) Yeah. Noomi and I went to the same high school. We’re all from the south side of Stockholm. It’s crazy. Growing up, it was that working-class part of town where a lot of artists live … and junkies, too. Sometimes, those were the same people.