After his breakthrough performance in the AMC TV series “The Killing” and on the festival circuit with the celebrated “Snabba Cash,” actor Joel Kinnaman will soon enjoy not one but two opportunities to stand out on the big screen: in David Fincher’s remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and in Chris Gorak’s alien-invasion opus “The Darkest Hour.” Kinnaman joined co-stars Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella as well as director Chris Gorak at Comic-Con to premiere the film’s first theatrical trailer. Afterward, The Playlist sat down with Kinnaman for a quick chat about his character in the film, the scariest part of the film and about choosing roles that allow him to find new, different and hopefully bigger opportunities as his Hollywood profile rises.
How much have you guys seen of the movie so far and has it met your expectations?
We were all watching dailies while we were shooting it, so performance-wise we’ve seen a lot of stuff, at least what I’ve been in. I had high expectations, and I felt that they were right on par with that. The most frightening part of the movie is during the day.
It’s interesting that opposed to playing college kids, you are playing young businessmen. How carefully do you have to choose roles to make sure you get to grow up a little bit as you keep working?
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 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. And if [they don’t] is it possible for me to add that if the script is lacking that. And here for my part, it was very obvious that it was a character that had a journey and a development of the character, and it was possible to do more than was just on the page. You always want to find the most dramatic circumstance; it’s always interesting to see how a person would react in the most extreme circumstance, and it doesn’t get much more extreme than this. Because it’s interesting to see what kind of choices instinctively and intuitively a person makes when he’s confronted with these different horrendous things.
What was the process like of adjusting to the environment of this film, be it the world where there’s no electricity, or just the landscape of Russia?
It was tough. We were hurting. I think there was almost a sense of desperation, because it was so hot, and then the fires started [filming was temporarily shut down last summer due to wildfires in Moscow]. So that sense of desperation seeped into our performances in the movie too in a very good way.
When can you recognize as an actor that going through a tough experience like that was ultimately beneficial to your performance?
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 mean, it’s not going to affect me in any way. It’s just such a fortunate thing to be able to have this as a profession and get to do this and be creative with very talented people around you. It’s a wonderful experience and this movie was very much so.
Is there a scene in the film you’re most excited to see finished or fleshed out?
There was one scene that was also in the trailer. We were shooting at the GUM, which is an incredibly beautiful building [and currently famous department store] built in the 1890s. Yeah, and there’s a shot where this plane has just crashed down into the mall. I was really looking forward to seeing that, because I saw the concept art of that, and I thought it looked devastating and crazy. And I thought it looked great in the trailer.
“The Darkest Hour” hits on December 23rd. — Todd Gilchrist