Claim to fame Appears in House of Cards as Gov. Will Conway; stars as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad (in theaters Aug. 5)
Base Los Angeles
Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?
Joel Kinnaman: I read the morning newspaper from Sweden, DN.se. When it comes to coverage of world affairs, I prefer to read Swedish newspapers. There are some great American papers, like The New York Times, but I think I'm just used to the Swedish point of view.
Your character on the most recent season of House of Cards, Gov. Will Conway, is constantly using social media as a campaigning tool. Are you a big social media person?
No, not really, actually. I'm not on Twitter. I finally caved and joined Instagram, but I've only been on there for about six months. It's kind of fun. As a way to connect with people, I enjoy it. But I don't think it has any worth as a marketing tool, really. Not yet, anyway.
Were you inspired by any particular politicians?
Not directly. I stole a little piece of Kennedy, a little piece of Obama, stuff that makes my mind tick. But if anybody can pick up on what comes from what person, then I've failed. You get ideas from all different people.
Do you think that the crazy things happening in the current election cycle have made the fictional version on House of Cards seem less over the top?
Oh yeah. When you have a presidential candidate that's talking about how big his dick is, then we don't feel like we've done anything on the show that was close to being over the top. But that's what happens when people start wanting a reality star for a president.
What TV shows are you watching?
I just started watching 11/22/63 with James Franco and that show with Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager, which is really good. I think he should be the next James Bond [laughs]. He would be perfect.
Any favorite apps?
Well, I use a conversion app a lot for the metric system [laughs]. I'm pretty much bilingual in that, but I still need it every now and then. And you've got to have Waze in L.A.
What's on your reading list?
I'm reading a bunch of stuff. Right now, I have, like, five books open at the same time. I have to make a decision. The last book I finished was Women by Charles Bukowski, and I just started reading This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. It's really depressing. It's about how we're all about to die and how we're killing the planet. She's just one of the smartest people in the world.
You're starring in DC's Suicide Squad this summer. Were you into comics growing up?
Yeah, but not the Marvel or DC comics. Swedish comics. There was one called The Phantom that was my favorite. It was a really silly one, actually. I mean, they all are.
Did the intensity of comic book fandom add any extra pressure to doing the film?
Well, I sort of dipped into that world a little bit before with RoboCop. But yeah, some of these fans are really passionate about it. It means a lot to them. You've always got to play to your audience and respect them if you choose to go down that route.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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