Joel Kinnaman on Playing a “Broken Down” Character on ‘In Treatment’

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Joel Kinnaman In Treatment

“I liked playing a guy who’s a little broken down and not necessarily an alpha male…. Being an actor and not being entirely successful is a tough thing to deal with.” – Joel Kinnaman on His ‘In Treatment’ Character

On this season of the HBO series In Treatment, actress Uzo Aduba stars as Dr. Brooke Taylor, a therapist in a format shift from the earlier three seasons. A recurring member of the season’s cast is Joel Kinnaman, who portrays Taylor’s on-again, off-again boyfriend. Speaking with Collider about the role, Kinnaman reveals that the part was pitched to him as Aduba’s “boy toy” and what appealed to him about the role and working with Aduba.

Regarding his character on In Treatment, Kinnaman explains, “I liked playing a guy who’s a little broken down and not necessarily an alpha male. I felt for the guy. Being an actor and not being entirely successful is a tough thing to deal with. It’s one of those professions where you’re conflated with your work because you are your work. When you’re in a profession where you continuously have to get a new job, you just get that feeling of being at the school dance and no one wants to dance with you. Of course, I’ve seen that.”

On that pressure that actors feel, Kinnaman continues by pointing out he knows that he is one of those lucky actors that has worked regularly. He says, “I’ve been lucky in my career, but I have friends who, for whatever reason, it hasn’t really clicked and that feeds a lot of insecurity. You see these actors become performative in their everyday lives and they act different, and that can be pretty annoying. When you never get that security as a person and you question your own person because no one is asking you to work, it makes for an interesting character. It’s something that I’ve seen, so I had a lot of relationships to draw on. And I thought it was interesting to play something that’s actually really close to home. It could have absolutely been me.”

To that end, Kinnaman has significant praise on working with Aduba. He reveals, “She’s a fantastic actor who’s completely dedicated. I don’t think that there’s a gig in show business right now, as an actor, where you have to work harder than she does. We shot an episode in two days, and it’s all dialogue. She was constantly reading her dialogue and she was always apologizing. She was like, ‘I’m sorry I can’t talk and hang out. I wish I could just be social.’ As soon as we would cut on one scene, she’d be rehearsing the next scene or tomorrow’s work. She’d have an earpiece in with her scene reader, and they would start rehearsing immediately after they’d cut. They were lucky to have someone that understood what kind of discipline this role needs.”

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