How Joel Kinnaman Got From Swedish Art Films To “The Suicide Squad”

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During all of this, I had an audition for Thor. When they launched the first Thor film, they obviously went around the world. Scandinavia was a natural place for, uh – [grinning] you know, that’s such bullshit that Chris Hemsworth plays Thor. If there is a case of cultural appropriation, this that’s it ! I mean, he lives in a tropical paradise. He has no understanding of the cold and the pain that we experience on a daily basis. This is such bullshit. I don’t understand why more Swedes and Scandinavians aren’t more outraged by this clear case of cultural appropriation! Like, not all 6’3 “white people are the same! [laughs] This is crap!

So I had to wait until I could embark on the comic book adventure. And then what do I get? Rick Flag?!? Looks like one of the guys who stormed the Capitol! You know? I am still very bitter about Thor. Very bitter.

As you should be! I read that you spent a year as an exchange student in Del Valle, Texas. How has this year changed you? How has this shaped your view of America?

My real understanding of America comes from the fact that my father is American. But he has a very particular background. He deserted the Vietnam War, fled to Laos for five years, then ended up in Sweden. He’s a person who left everything behind and took a very strong political stance against American foreign policy. So that’s what I grew up with.

But I had this desire and this desire to reconnect with my American side. So, I went there as an exchange student, and that was a really difficult thing, because I ended up with this super crazy family that shouldn’t have had exchange students. I was then saved by my American football coach and was able to stay with his family. Living in Texas for a year really made me understand the different sides of America.

Did you play high school football in Texas? It’s about as American as it gets.

Well, I was the kicker…. but I broke the school record!

Did he feel Friday night lights-ish?

One hundred percent! I love this show so much. I felt like I was going through this. When you play football in a poor school in America, you really feel the class struggle in America and how much there is at stake. This is something that I didn’t understand, because where I come from, you don’t pay for college. It’s free. All you have to do is be academically successful and you are admitted. In fact, you get paid by the government to go to college if you are admitted. You get a state subsidy, so you don’t have to take a second job. So you can concentrate on your studies.

God, that hurts to hear. This is so clearly how it should be in America.

This is really how it should be. America can absolutely afford it. And what better investment than investing in the education of young people?

There have been several instances where if teammates failed this test they would not play the last three games of the season and they would not get their scholarship which could lift them out of their poverty situation. Their chance to break the cycle of poverty in their families would have disappeared.

It was as if their whole life came down to this moment. I was really struck by the stakes and the little second chance.


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