Mads Mikkelsen has played some of the most well-known villains throughout his career in Hollywood. The Danish actor, who will turn 58 in November, is best known in the United States for his roles as the titular serial killer in NBC’s Hannibal and the antagonist (Le Chiffre) in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.
This year, he played Nazi Jürgen Voller in James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, adding another villain to his personal rogues’ gallery. The BAFTA-nominated actor playing a fantastic villain is by no means new, but Mikkelsen’s contribution to a film of this stature is surprisingly noteworthy.
Despite playing villains most of the time, the actor is positive and enthusiastic in real life.
What Did Mads Mikkelsen Note About Denmark’s Anti-Smoking Campaign?
Mads Mikkelsen discovered that Denmark developed an innovative and creative strategy to combat smoking in a world where its cessation campaigns often fall short of their goals. But it appears that not even one of the extraordinarily gifted and multifaceted actors was able to resist the allure of cigarettes.
In an interview with GQ, the actor—who gained recognition in Denmark for his performances as Tonny in the first two Pusher movies—discussed one of the country’s most effective anti-smoking campaigns:
“They didn’t mind dying brutally, but just getting the skin a little older, that makes them sweat!”
Although he claimed he would love to quit smoking, he felt “stuck”.
Mikkelsen then puffed on a cigarette in a cinematic manner, tilting his head to one side. He took a slow breath, looked back at the table, and then continued thinking about acting. He observed and told GQ:
“The whole idea of the main character is that we will learn bit by bit why the person is how the person is, and that’s not the case with the other characters—the sidekick, or the bad guy. The camera is not telling my story. It is not going to bed with me and waking up with me the next day.”
Mads Mikkelsen On His Status As A Bad Boy In Hollywood
Mads Mikkelsen is famous for playing antagonists, whether it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Doctor Strange or the James Bond film Casino Royale, but he is okay with being seen as the bad guy because European audiences have a different perception of him. He told the U.K.’s Metro that he enjoyed playing villains on screen and that it was one of his passions:
“Also, I have a different world that’s called Europe that has definitely seen me with different eyes throughout my career! So I’m not starving … I’ve never been starving in the sense of like, ‘Oh, why do people always see me this way?’ I think, actually, I’ve been seen by numerous people with very different eyes. So I embrace it. If the alternative is not to do anything in America, I take it!”
In his career as an actor, Mikkelsen has never shied away from challenges. He relished the chance to examine the complexities of villainous figures, whereas many actors may be afraid of being stereotyped. What made him enjoy playing villains so much? He explained to Esquire:
“Why not? They have cool stuff! They say cool stuff! They’re radical, in the sense that they’re in love with their goal. They don’t care so much about the means. That’s something we all hope we could do. They skip morals. We wish we could do that, but we can’t. That’s why we’re human.”
Mikkelsen has delivered a variety of roles, from Le Chiffre in Casino Royale to Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal. He expertly walked the fine line between empathy and wickedness, giving his characters a real depth that enthralled audiences everywhere. He believed that (via Esquire):
“A villain is serving a purpose. The villain is a mirror reflection of the hero. There’s something in that mirror he recognizes, something he hates. This is his battle. So I think that’s a very smart move in this film and in general to give the villain some good cuts, some good points, so we don’t go, ‘Take him away!’ It’s more like, ‘Wait a minute, he’s on to something.’ That, I think, is important.”
Mikkelsen’s recent appearances were in the James Mangold-directed action-adventure Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and the Nikolaj Arcel-helmed historical drama The Promised Land.
We will next see him in the horror thriller Dust Bunny, which also stars Sigourney Weaver.