Silent Night Star Joel Kinnaman On Emotional Preparation And Working With John Woo [Exclusive Interview]

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When you first get that script and you’re looking on the page for your character’s name, usually to see how much dialogue you have, and you see that there’s no dialogue, do you as an actor start getting excited or start getting scared at that prospect?

For me, this was presented to me like a hardcore action movie with zero dialogue that John Woo is directing. And I’m like, “I am in.” Very exciting. I didn’t expect how challenging it was going to be, acting-wise. It was a much bigger challenge than I thought. When you have text and dialogue, you’re telling the story and you’re finding a way to say it. And you don’t always necessarily have to be so fully engaged — or it doesn’t feel that way, anyway.

And also in the emotional scenes, when you have emotional scenes, usually the text can be like an anchor, and it helps drive your emotion into the situation. Here, all that is removed. I realized very quickly that to be able to tell this story, I have to be 100% in the moment in the situation, because I only have my eyes to tell the story and these little facial expressions, these little micro expressions coming from us. And those only come when you’re a hundred percent emotionally engaged in the situation. So yeah, it just demanded a much more intense emotional preparation for each scene. Every take, I had to be a hundred percent there.

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