Joel Kinnaman

Joel Kinnaman

Kinnaman in 2014
Born Charles Joel Nordström Kinnaman
(1979-11-25) 25 November 1979
Stockholm, Sweden
Residence Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Cleo Wattenström
Relatives Melinda Kinnaman (half-sister)

Charles Joel Nordström Kinnaman (born 25 November 1979)[1] is a Swedish-American actor,[1] best known for playing the lead role in the Swedish film Easy Money,[2][3] a role that earned him a Guldbagge Award in the "Best Actor" category, and also for his roles as Frank Wagner in the Johan Falk film series and Governor Will Conway in the U.S. version of House of Cards. He starred as detective Stephen Holder on AMC's The Killing, and 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 name.[4]

Early life

Kinnaman was born and raised in Stockholm.[5] His mother, Bitte, a therapist, is a Swedish citizen.[6][5] His father, Steve Kinnaman (originally David Kinnaman), is an American who was drafted during the Vietnam War and deserted the military from his base in Bangkok.[7][8][9] Kinnaman has both Swedish and American citizenship, because of his father's American nationality.[3][10] Kinnaman's father, whose family was from the American Midwest, is of English, German, Irish, and Scottish descent, while Kinnaman's mother is of Ukrainian-Jewish descent.[11][12] He has five sisters, one of whom is actress Melinda Kinnaman (his half-sister).[13] During his childhood, Kinnaman learned two languages as he "spoke English with my dad and Swedish with my mom."[5] Kinnaman spent a year in Texas as a high school exchange student.[14]


He originally started his career as a child actor in 1990, in the soap opera Storstad. His older sister were dating one of the shows directors, and he asked Joel to try out for a role. After portraying Felix Lundström in 22 episodes, he stepped away from acting.[15][16]

Kinnaman re-started his acting career in 2002,[1] taking part in a thriller called The Invisible and enrolling in the Swedish Academic School of Drama in Malmö, where actors such as Michael Nyqvist have studied. He graduated in 2007, and afterwards attracted the attention of Swedish media in a stage adaptation of Crime and Punishment.[5] Kinnaman then went on to star in nine Swedish movies in 14 months.[14] He made his breakthrough in the 2009 film I skuggan av värmen and his success continued with a role in six films of the Johan Falk film series.[13][17] He was then cast in the film Easy Money (released January 2010), which brought him attention in Sweden and the rest of the world.[2][17][18] Looking to expand his acting career, Kinnaman hired an agent in the United States, the same agent that represents Johnny Depp.[17] It was announced in the spring of 2010 that he would be making his international film debut in the thriller The Darkest Hour, which began filming in Moscow in June 2010 and was released in December 2011.[2] Beginning in April 2011, Kinnaman had a starring role as Detective Stephen Holder in the AMC television series The Killing.[19][20]

Kinnaman was one of the contenders for the lead roles in Thor (2011)[13][17][21] and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).[17] He told the newspaper Östran that he "was really close to getting the lead role in Mad Max 4. It was between me and two others, and the one who got the role was Tom Hardy. "[The director] was very pleased [with my performance] – but they needed someone who seemed older."[17] Regarding Thor, he has stated that "they wanted someone with a Scandinavian touch. There were only five candidates left in the end, but unfortunately I couldn't fly over [to the United States] and do test shoots with Natalie Portman, because it would interfere with the filming of Easy Money."[13] Although Kinnaman has said that he is eager to work and become recognized in America, he added that "I absolutely don't feel that I have to take any role that I can get just because it is the United States. I'm looking for something interesting, I'm still young in my artistry, and I must dare to do things even when there's a risk for failure".[17]

Kinnaman reunited with Easy Money director Daniel Espinosa in his Hollywood debut, 2012's Safe House.[22] On 3 March 2012, it was confirmed that Kinnaman would play the lead role of Alex James Murphy/Robocop in the 2014 remake of 1987's RoboCop. The film was released in February 2014. In 2015, he appeared in the drama Knight of Cups and starred in the thrillers Run All Night and Child 44. Kinnaman next played Rick Flag Jr. in the Warner Bros. and DC Comics adaptation of Suicide Squad (2016), directed by David Ayer.[23]

In 2016, Kinnaman also starred in the Drama-Thriller independent film Edge of Winter. He plays Elliot Baker, a father of two who takes his children on a shooting trip that goes horribly wrong. The film was released On Demand on the 27th of July, and in select theatres on the 12th of August. [24] Joel has also been cast as the main protagonist in Netflix's Altered Carbon, an adaption to Richard K. Morgan's Hardboiled cyberpunk science fiction novel of the same name. Netflix has ordered a 10-episode season one. Kinnaman will portray Takeshi Kovacs, a native of the planet Harlan's World, Kovacs is of Japanese and Eastern-European descent, and was a teenage gang member before enlisting in the military. After leaving the Envoy Corps, an elite military force, Kovacs returned to criminal life and became a mercenary, and was eventually imprisoned, his cortical "stack" stored without a body for decades at a time as punishment before being paroled or hired out to work high-risk situations. [25]

Personal life

In mid-2014, Kinnaman began dating Swedish tattoo artist Cleo Wattenström.[26][27] In April 2016, Kinnaman revealed he and Wattenström are married.[28][29]


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Den osynlige Kalle
2003 Hannah med H Andreas
2005 Storm The Bartender
2005 Tjenare kungen Dickan
2006 Vinnarskallar Gurra
2007 Arn – The Knight Templar Sverker Karlsson
2008 Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End Sverker Karlsson
2009 In Your Veins Erik
2009 183 dagar Byron
2009 Johan Falk - Gruppen för särskilda insatser Frank Wagner Nominated – Guldbagge Award for the Best Supporting Actor[30]
2009 Johan Falk - Vapenbröder Frank Wagner
2009 Johan Falk - National Target Frank Wagner
2009 Johan Falk - Leo Gaut Frank Wagner
2009 Johan Falk - Operation Näktergal Frank Wagner
2009 Johan Falk - De fredlösa Frank Wagner
2009 Simon & Malou Stefan
2010 Easy Money Johan "JW" Westlund Guldbagge Award for the Best Actor
2011 The Darkest Hour Skyler
2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Christer Malm
2012 Safe House Keller
2012 Lola Versus Luke
2012 Easy Money II: Hard to Kill Johan "JW" Westlund
2012 Johan Falk – Spelets regler Frank Wagner
2012 Johan Falk – De 107 patrioterna Frank Wagner
2012 Johan Falk – Alla råns moder Frank Wagner
2012 Johan Falk – Organizatsija Karayan Frank Wagner
2012 Johan Falk – Barninfiltratören Frank Wagner
2013 Johan Falk – Kodnamn Lisa Frank Wagner
2013 Easy Money III: Life Deluxe Johan "JW" Westlund
2014 RoboCop Alex Murphy / RoboCop
2015 Knight of Cups Errol
2015 Run All Night Mike Conlon
2015 Child 44 Wasilij Nikitin
2016 Suicide Squad Rick Flag
2016 Edge of winter Elliot Baker
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Storstad Felix Lundström Swedish TV series; credited as Joel Nordström
2008 Andra Avenyn Gustav Swedish TV series
2011–2014 The Killing Stephen Holder U.S. TV series
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television[31]
2016 House of Cards Governor Will Conway Recurring role
2017 Altered Carbon Takeshi Kovacs Upcoming series

Awards and nominations


Year Award Notes
2011 Guldbagge Awards Best Actor - Easy Money
2012 Saturn Award Nominated - Best Supporting Actor on Television - The Killing


  1. 1 2 3 "Joel Kinnaman" (in Swedish). The Swedish Film Database (Swedish Film Institute). Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. 1 2 3 Rehlin, Gunnar (7 April 2010). "Joel Kinnaman klar för Hollywoodfilm". Helsingborgs Dagblad. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  3. 1 2 Hägred, Per (19 January 2010). "Joel Kinnaman: 'Min revisor är i chocktillstånd'". Expressen. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  4. "'Suicide Squad' Update: 'RoboCop's Joel Kinnaman Cast as Rick Flagg". 13 February 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Rochlinfer, Margy (7 February 2014). "Emotions Churning Under Armor: Joel Kinnaman Jumps From 'The Killing' to 'RoboCop'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  6. Jackson, Helen (6 February 2014). "'Robocop' Joel Kinnaman's Mom Tried to Send Him to Therapy for Walking Like a Robot". Variety.
  7. Yglesias, Matthew. "Joel Kinnaman from The Killing: An Interview - Slate Magazine". Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  8. Tweet Lina Wennersten 08-13 59 36 "Kroppslig kamp | Kultur | SvD" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  9. Eichel, Larry (9 December 1990). "Home Swede Home: Why Some Vietnam Dodgers Haven't Returned". The Seattle Times. David Kinnaman, as Steve was known for the first half of his life....
  10. Ventre, Michael (16 June 2011). "'Killing' actors all hiding secrets". Variety.
  11. "Joel Kinnaman regerar i "Arn" - Film" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  12. "RoboCop's Jewish!".
  13. 1 2 3 4 Andersson, Jan-Olov (22 August 2009). "– Jag fick sparka ihjäl Skarsgård". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  14. 1 2 Albiniak, Paige. "In for the kill". New York Post.
  15. "– Jag ville slå honom". Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  16. " – Artiklar Intervjuer Essäer 1979-2016". Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Helmerson, Erik (11 January 2010). "Joel Kinnaman nära roll i 'Mad Max 4'". Östran. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  18. "Zac Efron to play drug smuggler in thriller". Reuters. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  19. Holmqvist, Emilia (22 March 2010). "Kinnaman ska få oss att springa". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  20. Hibberd, James (14 April 2010). "AMC adds four actors to 'Killing' pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  21. Vejvoda, Jim (16 March 2009). "Natalie Portman Joining Thor?". IGN. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  22. Vineyard, Jen. "Joel Kinnaman Talks 'Easy Money,' His Marty Scorsese-Style Relationship With Daniel Espinosa & The Future Of The 'Dragon Tattoo' Films - IndieWire".
  23. Kroll, Justin (13 February 2015). "Joel Kinnaman Eyed for Rick Flagg Role in 'Suicide Squad'".
  24. "Edge of Winter actor Joel Kinnaman says 'toughest shoot' was filming in a freezing Sudbury lake". 23 August 2016 via The Hamilton Spectator.
  25. Andreeva, Nellie (12 May 2016). "Joel Kinnaman To Star In Netflix's 'Altered Carbon' Series; Miguel Sapochnik Directs".
  26. "Olivia Munn's ex Joel Kinnaman moves on with tattoo artist Cleo Wattenstrom... and the couple 'are already living together'". DailyMail. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  27. "Här myser Kinnaman med svenska Cleo, 22". Aftonbladet. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  28. Bacardi, Francesca (April 26, 2016) "Surprise! Joel Kinnaman and Cleo Wattenström Are Married". Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  29. Gugliemi, Jodi (April 26, 2016) "Joel Kinnaman Reveals He Secretly Married Cleo Wattenström".. Retrieved 26, 2016.
  30. "De kan vinna en Guldbagge". Dagens Nyheter. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  31. Goldberg, Matt (29 February 2012). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; HUGO and HARRY POTTER Lead with 10 Nominations Each". Collider. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
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