Opening in theaters on December 1st is the new holiday action movie ‘Silent Night,’ which stars Joel Kinnaman (‘The Suicide Squad’), was directed by legendary filmmaker John Woo (‘Face/Off’) and features no dialogue.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Joel Kinnaman in-person about his work on ‘Silent Night,’ the challenges of appearing in a movie with no dialogue, his character’s emotional state, why he seeks revenge, and what he learned about action movies from working with master filmmaker John Woo.
Moviefone: To begin with, the movie has no dialogue. As an actor, did you find that to be a freeing process or was it more demanding because every emotion must be seen through your physical actions?
Joel Kinnaman: You’ve put the nail on the head there. It was surprisingly demanding. I really did not expect how much more demanding it was. When you have dialogue and you’re telling the story also through your words, you can rely on that in a way. Here when the only modality I must tell the story is through my eyes and the little micro expressions that come in the face that basically are only expressed when your emotions are coming through or when your thoughts get a representation in your face. The only way that they do that is if I’m a hundred percent emotionally engaged and present in each scene. So, it demanded me to do more prep for each scene and for each take. It was much harder to just roll into it. Sometimes you could if the situation demanded, but because this character is in such a state in every scene in this film, it really demanded for me to be there.
MF: Can you talk about what your character is going through emotionally at the beginning of the film, suffering the loss of his child and the revenge that ends up consuming him?
JK: So, this film on its face is a very high octane, fast moving, fast-paced action film. It has a very emotional setup where we dive deep into emotions and I had a fantastic partner in Catalina Moreno, so I was very proud of how deep we got in portraying that. So, it gives the film a big setup. But when it comes to the character and the character’s journey, it’s really a tragedy. It’s a man that loses his son and his son is the light of his life. It’s a love that he’s never felt before. This gets taken away from him and he just loses his connection with love. So, it makes him unable to reconnect with his wife and with his life. The only thing that he can connect to is this obsession of making the people who took this away from him pay. The tragedy is that if you go down that path, like he does, you ultimately lose your humanity.
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MF: Finally, you’ve worked on a lot of action projects in the past, but what was it like for you working with director John Woo on this film and what did you learn from him about making action movies?
JK: When it came to the actual action, I think I learned a lot from a lot of people on set. I had a great stunt coordinator in Jim Churchman and an incredible fight coordinator in Jeremy Marinas, who is going to become one of the new big action directors, I’m sure. But with John, what I really learned was that there’s a lot of levels and I really got to watch a master at work. With this movie, because you remove the dialogue, he doesn’t have to come in and shoot coverage of a scene where you’re filming someone talking or filming someone listen. It freed him up so he could just design one beautiful cinematic shot that tells the story of that scene. So, to get to be part of that and just to see him in action and see how his mind processed what the scene was about, what we wanted to tell into one beautiful shot was really inspiring and I learned a lot about storytelling from him.
“Action speaks louder than words.”
From legendary director John Woo and the producer of John Wick comes this gritty revenge tale of a tormented father (Joel Kinnaman) who witnesses his young son die… Read the Plot
What is the plot of ‘Silent Night?’
Brian Godluck (Joel Kinnaman) is a family man who goes into the underworld to avenge his young son’s death on Christmas Eve.
Who is in the cast of ‘Silent Night?’
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