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1 Oct, 2010 12:32

“I’m not afraid to be vulnerable” Swedish actor

A thriller that keeps you on the edge of the seat, “Easy Money” – based on bestselling crime novel “Snabba Cash” – has been unveiled in Russia after box office success in Sweden, where it was outdone only by “Avatar”.

The film cracks a number of stereotypes, turning the spotlight on Sweden’s booming criminal scene as opposed to the popular belief that there’s no criminality or racketeering in the well-off Scandinavian country.

“Snabba Cash” revolves around three very convincing characters.

First off, there’s Mrado, played by Dragomir Mrsic – a non-professional actor who grew up in one of Stockholm’s rough areas and experienced crime firsthand. Back in 1990 he took part in the armed robbery of a bank and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for helping fellow gangsters escape from the scene of the crime.

One of Mrsic’s passions has long been martial arts, which he had a chance to expose in “Snabba Cash”. As Sweden’s Taekwondo champion, Mrsic has taken part in more than 30 contests.

In “Snabba Cash” the criminal-turned-actor plays a musclehead butcher from a Yugoslav mafia, specializing in racketeering. The only apple of his eye is Mrado’s eight-year-old daughter Lovisa, who inspires him to cut his ties to the mafia for good. However, Mrado decides first to shake the money tree to the max, for one last time…

Another thrilling character is Jorge, a Chilean drug dealer who escapes from prison and wants to get into big money selling cocaine smuggled from Germany inside cabbage heads.

The lead character of “Snabba Cash” is charming blond heartthrob JW – an underprivileged student of the Stockholm School of Economics, who is burning the midnight oil as a picker-upper, getting clients from an Arab gang boss in order to party till dawn with his rich and gorgeous aristocratic friends and become a good match for his new seductive girlfriend, Sophie, who is worth a million.

The quickest way for JW to earn enough money to hang out in the company of the glitterati is to mastermind a money laundering plan.

However, it soon turns out that, when dealing with the mafia, making plans doesn’t guarantee having any of them come true…

The good thing is, “Snabba Cash” is rich in suspense and surprise, offering no cheesy happy ending.

One of Sweden’s most promising up-and-coming actors, Joel Kinnaman, told RT how it felt playing his character.

“I think at first [the challenge] was to play a character that I in many ways disliked and had no respect for his choices. I had to find his vulnerability and understand where he came from. He has a sense of frailty about him, I think, and I wanted to use my own vulnerability as a human being. I wanted him to be both, very insecure and very strong. He made such bad choices in life. I liked to think that this came from the weakness.”

Is it important for the 31-year-old actor to relate to the character he’s playing?

“Yes, I have to relate to my character in some way. When I succeed in this, that is always when the best results come out,” Joel says.

How does he prepare for the shooting?

“Usually I spend a month or three weeks getting prepared. I spend time in a similar environment and people who come from the same social class. I look upon the character as a blank piece of paper. I think JW creates himself every time he meets somebody new. There was also a lot of dialect work for me, because I changed my dialect when [my character] was talking with everybody he interacted with. Of course, the international audience loses these nuances, but that was my ambition with the part.”

Is there anything frightening for him in being an actor?

“It’s always frightening! It’s the fear of not succeeding, of being hated by the audience, that they won’t like what you do, that they won’t believe you… This is always the big challenge. Also not being too concerned of what people think even though that is your biggest concern.”

What about the fear of exposing himself?

“That has never been a fear for me. I think that is probably one of my strengths as an actor that as a person I am not afraid to be vulnerable. I have always looked upon this quality in other people as a sign of strength. I think you can measure the strength of a human being by how vulnerable they dare to be.”

Is it true that, after the success of “Snabba Cash”, Kinnaman got himself an agent working with Johnny Depp?

“Actually, it was before Snabba Cash,” he replies. “I went to LA right after we finished the movie. I was there before we knew this movie was going to be international and got an agent seven months before the movie came out. My father is American, I never learned English; I am bilingual since birth so I don’t feel like I’m playing in a foreign language."

Any job offers in America yet?

“Yes, I’m working on an American film here [in Moscow] and after this I’m doing an American TV series – the same producers that did Mad Men and Breaking Bad. It’s a very good network; they are trying to be the new HBO.”

Kinnaman’s is currently shooting in Moscow, playing a part in Chris Gorak’s thriller “The Darkest Hour”, produced by Timur Bekmambetov, the man behind “Wanted”.

Is action his favorite genre?

“No, I don’t have a favorite genre. I’m still so young in my artistry, I want to try everything! Right now I’m doing a science fiction thriller [“The Darkest Hour”], it’s very technical acting which is a big challenge. It’s very difficult, but I’m having a great time, I think it’s very fun!”

How does the star of the fast-paced and realistic movie “Snabba Cash” see himself, say, in 35 years?

“If I’m alive in 35 years I’ll be very happy!”

Valeria Paikova, RT