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Joel Kinnaman Talks Apple’s ‘For All Mankind,’ ‘Suicide Squad’ Sequel

Joel Kinnaman admits that the astronaut suit he wears in “For All Mankind,” his new Apple TV Plus drama series that creates an alternate history in which the Soviets make it to the moon before the U.S., is horribly uncomfortable.

“It’s a lot more fun as an idea than to actually do it,” Kinnaman, who stars as a NASA astronaut on the show, says on this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast. “I’ve worn a couple of uncomfortable suits in my day, and let me tell you, this astronaut suit is a nightmare.

“It’s brutal,” he continued. “It got a little better over the course of the season [because] we did some tweaks…I think it was also that the suits weren’t made for 6’3” Swedes.”

The series was co-created by former “Outlander” showrunner Ronald D. Moore after he met Garrett Reisman, director of space operations at Space X. “It originated with Ron discussing with a friend the idea of maybe doing a ‘Mad Men’-ish show in the NASA environment,” Kinnaman said. “But then they started discussing the space race. It was pretty much a sad story. We got to the moon, but then after that, people lost interest, and NASA got defunded, and the whole promise of space exploration didn’t get fulfilled. So then they came up with this other idea, like what would’ve had to happen for the pace race to continue? And so they came up with the show where it actually starts with the Soviets beating us to the moon, and by losing the space race, it continues.”

They start shooting the second season in a couple of weeks. “I’m amazed at what they’ve created,” Kinnaman said, adding, “They’ve done an incredible job with it and it’s just been such a pleasure shooting. I don’t think I’ve been this excited to show something that I’ve done to people.”

Joel Kinnaman photographed exclusively for the Variety Big Ticket podcast
Alex Gitman for Variety

He’ll be shooting the second season and the much anticipated “Suicide Squad” sequel simultaneously.

Kinnaman lights up when talking about the villain franchise’s new director and screenwriter, “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” James Gunn. “He’s an incredible guy,” he said. “He’s written a fantastic script. It’s so funny…I feel like I’m shooting my first comedy. There are a lot of really funny people there. It’s like a learning experience. I’m around a lot of incredible funny people.”

A photo that Gunn posted on his Instagram of the cast going to see “Joker” went viral earlier this month. “Joaquin [Phoenix] just crushed it. Wow. He is incredible. He’s such an actor,” Kinnaman said. “It’s surprising to see that kind of a performance in something that has a DC wrapper on it, because that’s a real art film. And I have a sister who’s schizophrenic, and I’ve drawn on some of her behavioral things in things that I’ve done earlier, and, yeah, I was really struck by how accurate his [performance was].”

As for his longtime friend Robert Pattinson being the new Batman, Kinnaman said he’s impressed how he went from the “Twilight” franchise to independent arthouse films. “He just turned down almost everything and spent seven, eight years just doing obscure films with interesting directors. Films that very few people saw,” he said. “But he was going to film school…And now he’s taken on Batman. And I think that’s so smart because now he’s ready to do that. Now he can do his own thing with that, and I think if he’d tried to do something like that maybe five years ago, then it would’ve been something that someone else just put on him. Someone just threw a suit on him. I’m looking forward to what Rob Pattinson is going to do with his Batman.”

What does Kinnaman think of Martin Scorsese’s recent critique of superhero movies? Find out by listen to the entire episode of “The Big Ticket” below. You can also find it at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

 

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