Joel Kinnaman, fresh from finishing filming the new RoboCop where he takes the title role, sits down for an exclusive interview with Movie Fanatic to discuss the film that put him on the map. Easy Money is a crime thriller that still has this writer trying to shake off its power. “I’m very proud of it. I think it’s maybe the best work I’ve done, in front of the camera anyway,” Kinnaman said.
Kinnaman portrays JW, a talented Stockholm business school student who is tired of being on the cusp of Sweden’s high society. When an opportunity arises for him to participate in a drug deal that will bring him the kind of money to firmly plant him in Stockholm’s upper crust, he takes it… and our unforgettable thriller begins.
Movie Fanatic: What do you think most prepared you for the role of JW?
Joel Kinnaman: It was very rewarding. I just had went on hiatus from playing Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, which is something quite similar -- a storyline that takes him even further. I was in a very good place to go there with this guy.
Movie Fanatic: Your director, Daniel Espinosa in our Safe House interview, had such great things to say about this film. How did you find him as a helmer?
Joel Kinnaman: Daniel is one of my best friends. I met him about 2002 or 2003, when I auditioned for his first feature. I was offered a part in that movie but then I turned it down because I had just gotten accepted to the acting school, the national dramatic acting school of Sweden. But we stayed in touch and we became friends after that. Then, when I was getting out of acting school, we were developing this movie that we wanted to do together but we couldn’t get it approved from the government board that sort of gives half of the budget to a movie. But then he got Easy Money. I’d probably say no to any director in the world if Daniel wanted me to do a movie. I think he has a couple of true masterpieces in him. He’s just a very powerful director.
Movie Fanatic: What struck you most when you first got the script?
Joel Kinnaman: First of all, it was a world that we hadn’t really seen in Sweden before. The criminal world hadn’t been portrayed in any believable way. It’s something that we and everybody was talking about: it’s so frustrating that we can’t see stories about the criminal world that we all knew was out there. Some of us knew it firsthand and the Danish were doing it so much better -- Nicolas Winding Refn, with his Pusher trilogy.
Movie Fanatic: What did you treasure most about portraying your character, JW?
Joel Kinnaman: I love that the centerpiece of the movie is a character that comes from the country, that is sort of a Talented Mr. Ripley. He comes into this meeting ground in a part of Stockholm, where a lot of the nightclubs are, and the upper crust and the criminal world come together. And he was a character that wove in between them. Apart from being such a complex character that had so many sides that were fun to play, I thought it was just a story that took these people very seriously and it wasn’t judgmental. It took place in a moral gray zone that I think is where most of life takes place. And that’s what I think is interesting to show to the audience, because in the moral gray zone, that’s where I think the audience will have to make up their own mind. So then you force them to think and that’s what you want to do.