“I can’t wait for people to see this season because it’s definitely the best season of the show”: Joel Kinnaman on season three of For All Mankind
Apple TV+ original sci-fi series For All Mankind comes back again for a third season and this time it’s bigger than ever. Boasting a star-studded cast of Joel Kinnaman, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour and Krys Marshall, For All Mankind is set in an alternate universe where Russia makes the first moon landing. This change in history sparks a series of new events that accelerate space science and technology. Season three jumps forward further in time by ten years and explores what it would be like to finally make it to Mars.
Kinnaman – known for his role as Rick Flag in The Suicide Squad and starring alongside Tom Holland in Edge of Winter – plays Edward Baldwin, the biggest could-have-been of the series, had he made it to the moon. The Upcoming caught up with the actor in lieu of the release this June to discuss all things For All Mankind, including missing Michael Dorman on set, the bigger scale of this third season and how the pandemic affected the on-set atmosphere during filming.
Without any spoilers, how would you describe where Ed is at the beginning of this season?
He is at a point in his life where he’s lost a lot: he’s lost his son, he’s lost his life partner and he’s somewhat losing his physical abilities. But, at the same time, he’s becoming very focused on his legacy and also has a chance of redeeming his professional life. He still feels like the one who didn’t land – [the one] who came second. He could’ve put America first on the moon, but he didn’t pull the trigger and he’s still plagued by and haunted by that. And so I think he sees this as a chance of redemption.
You knew even before season two’s release that you’d be back again for the next. Did that help you transition your character seamlessly between the two seasons, especially when you got back to filming after the big gap?
I mean, that was the idea. Even though I had a shorter-term contract on the show, it was always with an eye towards extending if the show turned out the way that I hoped and believed it would – and it did. So, now, I’m in for the long run. I love this show, I love this concept and I love getting to play this character in all these different ages. It’s so interesting to get to play the ageing process and to see how a person changes over the years. I think it’s fascinating to see how much our inner lives change over ten years. When I think back on my life and who I was ten years ago, and 20 years ago, you know, those three ages are three different people – completely different people that viewed the world differently, that were viewed very differently by the world, and made different choices. It’s like you have to reinvent the character every season, which is super fun.
Is there anything else you do, prior to filming each season, to help immerse yourself back into this world and the role of Ed?
No, not really. For me it becomes more and more of a physical preparation, where I change my body to make it feel more like that age; how I move and how I think about how the body feels different. Between season one and season two, there’s not very much difference physically. But between season one and season three, you really start to see some differences, both with the prosthetics that we put on the face and all the makeup, and also how Ed feels in his body. Things start to hurt, and the back starts to be a little stiffer. And then, for a potential fourth season, we will really start to see the changes.
You started filming this season more than a year ago – do you remember your initial feelings when you got back on the For All Mankind set?
It’s such a good feeling to be back with this crew because I love this crew. We have an amazing level of the crew that we have, and we’ve also retained like 90% of the crew over three years. Also with the cast, after two to three years, you really start to know each other in a deeper way. We’ve become friends, we spend time off-set, and it becomes something. It starts to become family-like and you start to feel at home when you go to set. And it’s great to go to work and feel like it’s home.
Was it strange returning without Michael Dorman?
It was. Dorman is a dear friend of mine now, and like the friendship between Ed and Gordo – of course, the dynamic is completely different between me and Dorman but we became really close friends. I love Michael, so when he died on the show and we were playing those scenes, [it was] like I was mourning my friend. Because I knew he wasn’t going to be with me on-set the next day. It was so easy to transfer those emotions; I really did miss him.
Which other actors did you have the best time filming with in this particular season?
Casey W Johnson and I, we had a real journey. It was really fun to see him grow and take this responsibility – because he got a lot of responsibility [this] third season. I was doing everything I could to both be a support, but also to push him and really do everything I can to get him where he needed to go. And it was so satisfying to see how he rose to the occasion and really, really brought it home. I think people are really going to enjoy watching his performance. Danny is such an interesting character and Casey – he did a fantastic job!
There are big gaps in time between filming each season, and, with the pandemic, everything seemed longer. Did that experience help put the decades between each season into perspective?
No, not really. I thought it was just frustrating. It reminded me of how important it is to see each other’s faces. Everyday, on set, I was just so tired of not seeing people’s faces. It was a little easier for us because a lot of us knew each other before. But I was in a couple of other sets during the pandemic, and you just don’t get to know people. You don’t get to know people and it becomes so anonymous; the environment becomes so much colder. It’s a huge sacrifice to not be able to see each other and to be with each other. Hopefully we’re done with that sacrifice.
It’s no secret from the finale and in the trailers that For All Mankind will be exploring more than just the moon this time around. What did the impending expansion of the space exploration mean for you on set? Did the production feel bigger as you were filming?
The scale of the third season is a lot bigger. The show has really grown and, I mean, the first episode of this season has the scale of another big show’s season finale. Then it just keeps pushing, and it has so much pace, and the last four episodes of the show, each of those episodes are all like season finales. I can’t wait for people to see this season because it’s definitely the best season of the show.
For All Mankind: Season Three is released on Apple TV+ on 10th June 2022.
Read our review of For All Mankind: Season Three here.
Watch the trailer for For All Mankind: Season Three here: