Joel Kinnaman Interview: The Informer

British crime thriller The Informer finally arrives in theaters on November 6, over a year after British audiences first got to witness Joel Kinnaman’s starring turn. The film follows him in the role of Pete Koslow, a CI whose work for the FBI goes terribly awry at the last moment.

Kinnaman spoke to Screen Rant about perfecting the Brooklyn accent, collaborating with writer-director Andrea Di Stefano, and his habit of jumping from one role to the next.

One thing that was really fascinating to me is that you were coming right off of Altered Carbon and jumped right into the role of Pete. How did you prepare for such a shift, and can you talk about preparing for the role in such a quick amount of time?

Joel Kinnaman: Yeah. I mean, I’ve done that quite a few times, where you sort of just jump in. I think it was one of those things where – because it had a dialect; he’s a New York who grew up in Brooklyn, and dialect work is something that can really take time. But because I’ve done a New York dialect before, I kind of just had to brush it up and give it a little more of a Brooklyn-ish flair to it.

It wasn’t that tricky, you know? It felt like it was the kind of character that I could jump in on short notice. It wasn’t short notice, but it wasn’t that much time in between.

Can you talk to me about who Pete Koslow is?

Joel Kinnaman: Pete Koslow is a former Special Operations military guy who did a few tours in Iraq. And he had an unfortunate situation where his wife was attacked in a parking lot, and he jumped . in to protect her and accidentally kills the guy. His military background and his skills were seen as an aggravating circumstance, so he gets sent to prison for manslaughter.

And in prison, he gets approached by the FBI. They see that – because of both his military background, but also that he grew up in this Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn and was a bit of a street guy before the the military – they see him as the perfect CI to infiltrate this Polish mafia organization.

The movie starts when he’s right at the end of doing his tour, or what you call it, for the FBI. They’re just about to do the final mission that will put the nail in the coffin for their case, and then shit really go south and an NYPD detective gets killed. So, the feds get really cold on him and come up with a plan, and the only way that they can keep him alive in this is if he actually goes back into prison.

Does Pete trust Rosamund Pike’s character, Agent Erica Wilcox? She seems to parallel Pete’s situations in a lot of aspects.

Joel Kinnaman: Yeah, it’s a really well-crafted script in that way, where trust is a big part of the film. Who do you trust? Can you trust anyone? It’s about a man that’s literally fighting to get back to his family.

Andrea Di Stefano wrote and directed the film, and he also did Escobar: Paradise Lost. This is very similar to that film, but it’s told from the perspective of the background characters, or the foot soldiers. Can you talk to me about the collaboration process of working with him?

Joel Kinnaman: Yeah, Andrea is a great director. He’s super dedicated and well-researched. It was very important for him that everything feel realistic, both how the FBI operate – we had several high-level FBI detectives that were consulting on the film, as well as people from the US penitentiary system. That’s why you see in the film that the prison is going to surprise some people to see people actually in dorms and bunk beds. And there’s a level of insecurity for the inmates because of that, that we really wanted to portray.

A lot of the arenas that the film goes int, are portrayed in a very realistic way. And Andrea being a former actor, he’s very in tune to our process. He was really scaling my performance back. He was really like, “Just breathe. Just take it all in.” It was a great collaboration.

More: The Informer Official Trailer