Who’s this go­ing to fool? Ev­ery­one ...

Joel Kin­na­man makes a killing in his new role, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

THE Killing star Joel Kin­na­man had his ‘‘aha’’ moment while film­ing an episode of the crime drama early last sea­son.

The scene called for Stephen Holder, the Seat­tle Po­lice de­tec­tive Kin­na­man por­trays, to chat up two girls.

Holder, in­ves­ti­gat­ing the grisly mur­der of teen Rosie Larsen, thought the girls knew some­thing. He of­fered them the joint he was smok­ing.

‘‘ I’m off the clock,’’ he grins, glassy-eyed. ‘‘It’s not like I’m gonna ar­rest you.’’

‘‘That’s some crazy sick weed,’’ de­clares one girl af­ter let­ting out a lung­full. ‘‘I’m so stoned right now!’’

‘‘So are we gonna party?’’ Holder slyly sug­gests.

A moment later, they spill the in­for­ma­tion he is look­ing for, and he dashes off, leav­ing them be­wil­dered – and not really stoned. (You see, it isn’t really mar­i­juana.)

The girls buy his ruse. So does the au­di­ence. Scruffy, gan­gly and shrewd, Holder fools ev­ery­one.

‘‘It was such a great way to present that char­ac­ter. I was so in­spired by that scene,’’ says Swedish-born Kin­na­man.

‘‘You ask: Who is this guy? Do I like him? Do I not? Those are ques­tions I really want asked about the characters I play. It’s so much more in­ter­est­ing to be in a mo­ral grey zone.’’

Teamed with prickly, pushy De­tec­tive Sarah Lin­den (se­ries star Mireille Enos), Holder keeps view­ers guess­ing as the grim in­ves­ti­ga­tion en­snares much of the Seat­tle com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the may­oral race of coun­cil­man Dar­ren Rich­mond (Billy Camp­bell), whose cam­paign team may be some­how tied up in the crime.

On the sea­son fi­nale, Holder and Lin­den will fi­nally crack the case. That’s not a moment too soon for rest­less view­ers, some of whom thought they were promised the Big Re­veal a year ago but got a cliffhanger in­stead.

‘‘It was a lit­tle bit of mis­man­aged ex­pec­ta­tions, mar­ket­ing-wise,’’ says Kin­na­man. ‘‘Some peo­ple felt tricked.’’

Even so, the time has come to find out who killed Rosie Larsen. Who­ever the cul­prit is, one thing has been clear since the se­ries pre­miered: Holder – an ex-narc and re­cov­er­ing ad­dict – is an en­dear­ing ec­cen­tric in­fused by Kin­na­man with grit, nu­ance and the lone mea­sure of comic re­lief in a se­ries that oth­er­wise is shrouded in gloom.

An­other thing is sure: Holder isn’t the killer. Kin­na­man scrunches his face dis­mis­sively at such a no­tion. ‘‘That would just be stupid,’’ he says. ‘‘And it’s not a stupid show.’’ What did he think when he learned who the killer was?

‘‘I was sur­prised,’’ he al­lows. ‘‘Yeah, it was cool. It was very sat­is­fy­ing.’’

Kin­na­man is chat­ting with a re­porter in his Man­hat­tan ho­tel suite. In per­son, he strikes a marked con­trast to Holder, a skulk­ing pres­ence for­ever hunched in his hoodie. Kin­na­man is rangy and strap­ping in a T-shirt, slacks and run­ning shoes, and notably spared Holder’s ghostly pal­lor.

‘‘When I’m play­ing Holder, I feel like it af­fects my skin,’’ Kin­na­man con­fides.

‘‘Even when I was rested and got ex­er­cise.’’

Kin­na­man was born 32 years ago in Stock­holm, the son of an Amer­i­can fa­ther and a Swedish mother.

His older half-sis­ter Melinda has been an ac­tress from child­hood (she made her de­but as the tomboy Saga in the 1985 clas­sic My Life as a Dog, di­rected by Lasse Hall­strom), and when Kin­na­man was 10, he spent a year in the cast of a Swedish TV se­ries, Storstad.

‘‘It was a soap, and hor­ren­dously bad,’’ says Kin­na­man. ‘‘But it was watched by 30 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion. It was a cool ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

At 12 he re­tired (‘‘By then, I was into be­ing a tough guy, and act­ing wasn’t part of be­ing a tough guy’’), but by his early 20s he was back in the game.

He at­tended the pres­ti­gious Swedish Aca­demic School of Drama and won roles in a string of projects in­clud­ing Sn­abba Cash two years ago, which be­came Swe­den’s high­est-gross­ing film.

Due for re­lease in the US re-ti­tled Easy Money, the pres­sure-cooker thriller finds Kin­na­man as a busi­ness stu­dent.

He also ap­pears in the ro­man­tic com­edy Lola Ver­sus as the long­time boyfriend of a young New York woman (played by Greta Ger­wig) whom he dumps three weeks be­fore their wed­ding.

‘‘It was fun and smart and I loved the theme of the movie: free­dom through soli­tude,’’ says Kin­na­man.

This au­tumn he heads to Toronto to star in the much-an­tic­i­pated re­make of Robo­Cop, di­rected by Jose Padilha, with Sa­muel L. Jack­son and Gary Old­man also in the cast.

‘‘I was chas­ing a big movie,’’ says Kin­na­man, hop­ing to gain box-of­fice clout to ex­pand his act­ing choices.

‘‘I feel so lucky it’s this one. I don’t feel like I’m about to do a big ac­tion movie. This feels like a drama about what it is to be hu­man. That’s the core of this movie, even though it comes equipped with fire­works and cool gad­gets and CGI.’’

Wed­nes­days, 10.30pm, One.

Joel Kin­na­man

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