“I’ve been waiting since I was 9”: Mads Mikkelsen Said Yes to Doctor Strange Without Reading a Script After Director Dropped Three Magical Words

The actor reportedly loved kung fu films as a child and was a huge fan of Charles Bronson and Bruce Lee.

mads mikkelsen in doctor strange film


  • Mads Mikkelsen played the role of Kaecillius, the insurgent sorcerer in Doctor Strange.
  • The actor played the antagonist in the film to Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange.
  • Mikkelsen said that director Scott Derrickson got him on board the project even without him reading script by appealing to his love for kung fu.
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Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been a part of many franchises. The actor played the role of Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s Hannibal, featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Galen Erso, and took over from Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. He even recently joined the Indiana Jones franchise as Dr Jürgen Voller.


However, one of his most memorable roles has been his appearance as Kaecillius in Doctor Strange. The actor played the antagonist in the film which starred Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular. Mikkelsen was reportedly convinced by filmmaker Scott Derrickson to join the film without even reading the script with three magical words.

Doctor Strange Director Won Over Mads Mikkelsen With Just Three Words

Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecillius in Doctor Strange
Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange

Actor Mads Mikkelsen played the role of Kaecillius in Doctor Strange. The character was the film’s main antagonist, an old student of Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One, and had his own agenda for opening the Dark Dimension and a desire for eternal life. Mikkelsen’s performance was acclaimed and he was considered to be one of the better villains of the MCU.


Mikkelsen mentioned that he played Kaecillius as a person who believed in the agenda to convince other followers to join the cause. He told in an interview with The Playlist that Kaecillius was a man who had a strong point, which even Doctor Strange agreed with.

“If you are a demagogue you can believe in what you are talking about like Jim Jones. Not that Jim Jones was necessarily passionate because today we go, ‘Oh, man. That’s scary drama.’ We don’t like that. How can we believe in that? There is a certain belief in self. You have to believe what you are talking about to convince other people. So, he believes what he’s talking about is the savior of the world. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to the planet. It’s a passion of his, it’s a devotion.”

Scott Derrickson on the sets of Doctor Strange | Credits: Marvel
Director Scott Derrickson | Credits: Marvel

The actor reportedly accepted the part even without a script for Doctor Strange as Scott Derickson had appealed to a particular interest of his while offering him the role. Mikkelsen mentioned that he was not allowed to read the script before accepting the role and that Derickson appealed to his love for martial arts movies and kung-fu with the role. He said,

“Scott pitched the story to me before I was allowed to read anything and then he said the magic words, ‘flying kung fu’ and I went, ‘whoa, whoa, wait. I’m on. I’ve been waiting since I was nine to do that.’”

Mads Mikkelsen mentioned that he grew up with Bruce Lee and Charles Bronson films and when Scott Derickson put the film across in that way, he was immediately on board.


Mads Mikkelsen Felt Benedict Cumberbatch Was Perfect For Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong in a still from Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
A still from Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch became one of the faces of the MCU when he starred as Doctor Strange. He reprised his role as the Sorcerer Supreme in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. He also had an important role in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The actor received acclaim for playing the role and many appreciated him for bringing in Strange’s arrogance and heroism.

Mads Mikkelsen mentioned that he felt Cumberbatch was perfect for the role when he read the script. He mentioned that the actor had played arrogant characters before while he was a sweet person in real life. Mikkelsen said to The Playlist,

“Once I read the script I could not picture anyone but Benedict playing this because it’s such a fine balance, because he is the sweetest man on the planet but he has a fantastic ability to portray arrogant people. And that arrogance is in the character a lot.”

Cumberbatch has played roles such as Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock and Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness which had a similar arrogance and power to them. Mikkelsen also mentioned that he could not imagine anyone else pulling off the role due to the depths of the journey that the character goes through in the film.


“He’s going from being so arrogant as a character and then opening up, knowing more about the world and learning about himself and embracing other people. It’s one of his bigger journeys in the film and he’s just a master of doing that. He has the other side of the coin. When I heard that and I read the script I thought, ‘It’s a great part and such a great choice I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.’”

The film also starred other heavy hitters such as Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and more.

Doctor Strange is currently streaming on Disney Plus.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 977

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.