Mads Mikkelsen Source
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What do you say, Mads Mikkelsen?

Source: The Grid
Date: Januar 23, 2013

The Danish actor on wig dramas, Lars von Trier, and getting into Hannibal Lecter’s skin.

He’s a man of many faces, not all of them scarred.

Though Mads Mikkelsen came to international attention as Le Chiffre, 007’s scar-faced adversary in 2006’s Casino Royale, the 47-year-old Dane had earned a rep as one of Europe’s most charismatic leading men long before that. Three very different new performances may soon give him the same prominence on this continent. Mikkelsen plays a dashing German doctor who romances the queen and tries to reform 18th-century Denmark in A Royal Affair, out Feb. 1. He also won top honours at Cannes for his role as a schoolteacher wrongly accused of abusing a student in The Hunt (out in March). And he plays the title role in Hannibal, the forthcoming TV series about the early career of everyone’s favourite cannibal psychiatrist. Mikkelsen took a break from being Lecter on the series’s Toronto set to reflect on his diverse range of roles. “Maybe I’ve gotten away with it because I’m European,” he says. “I don’t think an American gets as much liberty—you tend to focus on your career once you become someone in America and everyone around you gets scared and says, ‘Don’t do that, it’s too much of a risk!’ I might be wrong,” he adds with a laugh. “Maybe I’m just really cool!”

Playing Hannibal can be a real mouthful in more ways than one.

Having already built up strong relationships with filmmakers like Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Mikkelsen says he’s been able to stick to the roles he’s passionate about, rather than take every Euro-villain part that might’ve come his way after Le Chiffre…but don’t take that to mean he’s averse to playing bad guys. “I’m not picky with my career in the sense of saying, ‘Oh, I’ve done that before, I cannot do it again.’” So when the opportunity to play Lecter came up, he leapt at the chance. That said, it hasn’t been easy getting into the character’s skin—and it’s been even trickier to find his voice. “He’s very well-educated, of course,” says Mikkelsen, “so in the way he talks about things, he rarely just says yes or no; his answers will be very elaborate. That means a lot of homework for me, and not just because it’s in English—once in a while, even the dialogue coach will say, ‘Let’s look up that word.’ It’s been a lot of work, but it’s interesting work. I feel like I am getting to know him.” He laughs. “And I like him.”

He doesn’t get trapped in a wig in his new costume drama.

An Oscar nominee for best foreign-language film, A Royal Affair successfully invests the sometimes musty genre of the historical drama with a modern vitality. (Mikkelsen’s pretty hunky in it, too.) The actor says he’s proud that director Nikolaj Arcel was able to make a movie that’s lavish by Danish standards but retains the immediacy viewers may associate with the country’s more roughhewn film exports. “Nikolaj’s budget was $9 million, which is like the equivalent of a $150-million Hollywood film. He said, ‘I want to do this differently—I want horses and princesses in dresses.’ But he also focused on the drama and the acting, which is obviously why I liked it.” And the period pageantry doesn’t undermine the story’s impact. Says Mikkelsen, “We wanted to take away the barriers that come with too much ‘wig drama’ going on.”

He’s too busy to do hardcore for Lars von Trier.

Though his duties on Hannibal have been dominating his schedule, Mikkelsen is looking forward to shooting a western alongside his brother Lars, a fellow thespian who starred in the original Scandinavian version of The Killing. But he won’t be starring in another Danish film that’s sure to be one of 2013’s most notorious releases: Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, a two-part erotic drama starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf that its ever-provocative director has already been describing as a “porno film.” “He did offer me a small part,” says Mikkelsen. “I didn’t even read it because I was doing this. I think that’s the first offer he’s ever given me. If I know him at all, I’m sure he just wanted me naked and humped by some big black dude.”