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A big thank you to mountperdition.tumblr.com who send me this scan along with the english translation!

MADS MIKKELSEN IN FRENCH FOR “MICHAEL KOHLHAAS”

In English we are used to the Danish star actor Mads Mikkelsen. But in the period drama ‘Michael Kohlhaas’, in which he plays a disadvantaged horse trader, the blood-crying villain from ‘Casino Royale’ appears to be able to express himself in the language of Molière. A first, and not in the least for Mikkelsen himself, who didn’t speak a word of French until recently.

HOW DOES A DANISH ACTOR ARRIVE ON THE SET OF A FRENCH FILM WHICH IN TURN IS BASED ON A GERMAN BOOK?
MADS: The film being set in France is due to procedural reasons. But me being in it is because of Arnaud des Palières. He was a hundred percent convinced I was the right man for the role of Michael Kohlhaas. I asked him repeatedly why he didn’t make it easier on himself by just searching a French actor, but his decision was made. He kept asking, and eventually he convinced me. I like radical people who tell radical stories, and Arnaud is one such person. For that kind of people I don’t mind learning French. (laughs)

DO YOU SPEAK FRENCH FLUIDLY NOW?
MADS: A lot better than when I started the film, anyway; I didn’t know a thing. Difficult, because I was dropped for four months into a world where no one spoke even a word of English. All people I was dependent on only spoke French. So I had to learn! If it sounds completely perfect, I don’t know, but that didn’t interest me. The most important was that it felt like I would have done it the same way in Danish.

MICHAEL KOHLHAAS IS A MAN WHO SEARCHES FOR JUSTICE ON AN ALMOST FUNDAMENTAL WAY. HE WOULD GIVE HIS LIFE TO GET HIS RIGHT, AND IS PREPARED TO SACRIFICE OTHERS. HOW DOES HE DIFFER FROM A MODERN-DAY SUICIDE TERRORIST?
MADS: That’s a question we asked ourselves as well. The answer depends on your perspective. My character is at one side of the street. They are at the other side of the street, think he is a terrorist, while those at his side, think he’s a hero. But if you stand in the middle of the road, you mostly see a selfish guy. Because that’s what Michael Kohlhaas is for me. He is fanatic, but not for a higher goal. For him, it’s about regaining the two horses they took from him.
Some moments he realises he’d better give up, but he just can’t. He is a bit like an alcoholic who can’t stay from the bottle. Addicted to justice.

BUT EVENTUALLY MICHAEL KOHLHAAS IS THE HERO OF THIS FILM. HAD IT ACTUALLY BEEN ABOUT A SUICIDE TERRORIST, WOULD YOU HAD STILL ACCEPTED THE ROLE?
MADS: Absolutely. But I think there’s an important difference with a terrorist. Michael Kohlhaas acts from a personal belief. He believes very deeply in that ideal of justice. It’s not like that with terrorists who brainwash young people and send them out with a belt full of bombs. The modern day Michael Kohlhaas would be considered the lone wolf, a guy with a certain conviction who walks around with a gun and shoots people around him.

ONE SCENE THAT JUMPS OUT DURING THIS FILM, IS THE ONE WHERE YOU HELP A HORSE GIVE BIRTH. THAT SCENE DIDN’T LOOK FAKE TO ME.
MADS: It wasn’t! I did it all myself. A very special moment for me, but Michael Kohlhaas has pulled dozens of foals out of horses. So I had to pretend it was just a regular thing and I wasn’t fully able to enjoy the moment. Only after did it occur to me that I had helped a little foal into the world. All by myself!

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