In an interview with The Independent, the Men & Chicken actor discussed being Hollywood’s go-to villain, Rogue One reshoots, Doctor Strange, and returning to Hannibal for season four.
From Le Chiffre in Casino Royale to the titular character in the presently cancelled Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen has become internationally renowned for playing a fantastic villain.
However, back in Denmark, the 50-year-old’s home country, things are slightly different; while the Danish are familiar with his Hollywood blockbusters, Mikkelsen is recognised equally for his work with acclaimed director Anders Thomas Jensen, the pair collaborating on The Green Butchers, Adam’s Apples, The Salvation and Men & Chicken.
The latter film, a particularly dark comedy, features Mikkelsen as a grown man with a child’s intelligence. Our first introduction to the character, Elias, includes an awkward meeting with a therapist about his masturbation problem, a recurring theme throughout the film. Like Elias, his brothers have minimal understanding of the world around them, leading to a story of intrigue, discovery, and rather morbid humour.
In a phone interview with The Independent to promote the film, the actor discussed being Hollywood’s go-to villain, his upcoming roles in Doctor Strange and Rogue One, while also touching on the chances of Hannibal returning.
How long has it been since you worked on Men & Chicken?
Two years exactly from today since we shot it. But it’s only a year ago in my head.
The film has quite a dark sense of humour, it’s very offbeat. What attracted you to the script and – in particular – the character you’re playing?
The darkness of the humour was one of the biggest attractions for me. It’s always difficult with different approaches to comedy, and mine is the same as [director] Anders Thomas Jensen. That was attractive. I love the characters, that they’re children trapped in grown up bodies, behaving basically like children, which is a wonderful way to tell a story about gigantic, poetic things. You use the tools of children to do that and it’s genius.
There are these quite weird undertones to the movie and particularly your character, Elias. He’s constantly masturbating yet has an innocent mind. Was it interesting taking on this unorthodox character?
You say the undertones, the undercurrents, they’re not something that’s an undertone for the character. It’s obvious he’s masturbating, it’s not something he keeps secret, like children. What’s to be read between the lines is not obvious.
It must have been relieving taking on this different character, particularly when you’ve played so many villains recently in American films.
I’ve done it before with Anders Thomas Jensen, and most of my work in Europe is the opposite of the bad guy. It’s just very interesting to work with Anders Thomas, which is why I took on the role.
In these European films, The Hunt for example, you are often these ‘good’ characters. Yet, in Hollywood blockbusters, you are the villain. Why is that?
It’s hard to say. It’s been very popular to use British actors to play the villains, but – for some reason – they need an even funnier accent to play the villain which is the Scandinavian one. We’re the villains right now. Why they’re doing it, it’s hard to say, but I’m glad as, if the alternative was not to work in the States, I would do villains forever. I’ve been crazy lucky to be part of some wonderful projects, like the Bond film and Hannibal, where it’s very difficult to call it a one-to-one villain. I’ve been very fortunate.
Men & Chicken has a very different sense of humour to what many are used to, how does Scandinavian humour compare to that in Britain and the US?
I always thought we had a lot in common with the English. We grew up with the English sense of humour, particularly Monty Python, which has a certain amount of madness in there. We always loved it and identified with it. Anders Thomas doesn’t necessarily represent the Danish humour, he’s very much himself. You won’t find anyone else doing what he’s doing and it’s very hard to compare what he’s doing with other people. It’s a clone of the Coen Brothers and David Lynch but it’s still very difficult to identify him.
Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) leads a special discussion at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 with the cast and filmmakers behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, including John Knoll, Kiri Hart, Gareth Edwards, Kathleen Kennedy, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Wen Jiang, Donnie Yen, Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and Ben Mendelsohn.
Mads attended SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio Channel with his fellow cast member from Doctor Strange. I have added 5 photos from the event.
Mads made a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 for the promotion of Doctor Strange during the Marvel Studios Presentation! I have added 25 pictures from the panel!
Mads attended the Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 yesterday in London. The Panel shared an exclusive first look at Mads character in Rogue One, Galen Erso, Jyn Erso’s father!