Mads Mikkelsen Source
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Meeting celebrities is an interesting job but not all stars enjoy chatting. Once in a great while you meet a celeb who seems as lovable in person as they are on screen. So is the case with the smoldering Mikkelsen, 47, who comes across as kind, open and humble. The Danish actor holds himself with the grace of a dancer or gymnast. He has been both, which explains his keen awareness of body movements for every role he plays.

Dorri Olds: How did you get along with young Annika Wedderkopp?
Mads Mikkelsen: She was wonderful. Obviously, I spent a lot of time with her and what is first and foremost with me, when I work with a kid, is to make them feel comfortable.

Do you find it worrisome for a child actor to be in scenes where they have to play distraught?
We were very lucky with this girl. She was wonderful. She’d never been in anything like this before. She was amazing. She could go with any emotional scene and then just leave and play with her friends. That was a gift from heaven because it’s very difficult to work with a kid who becomes affected by it.

One actor bragged about how much he scared a child into good acting.
Oh no. We’re not in that business. We made her very comfortable. We knew she’s just a genuine little kid.

What do you hope the takeaway is for viewers?
It’s an upsetting film. I hope it will give people something to think about. About how fragile life is and how fragile friendships are. How we should deal with traumas like this in an adult way and try not to become too emotional until we know what’s up, what’s down, what’s the whole story. Hopefully it will make a debate about that. This is a story about how great love turns into great fear.

Isn’t it also about mob mentality?
Yes, but it’s about our worst fear. That somebody is hurting our kids. There are no villains in this story. That is the frustration about the film sometimes — when we can’t put our anger anywhere. We understand everyone and why they are doing what they do.

Dorri Olds: Do you ever use method acting for a role?
Mads Mikkelsen: No. It’s hard to leave a scene sometimes like the church scene in this film where I got very upset, had a big confrontation for 11 hours so of course it’s difficult to leave the emotions but I would never go home and pretend my name is Lucas and my kids should call me Lucas. I think that is a pretentious disease.

You’re able to just shrug it off at the end of the day?
Well, it’s not always easy but you have to. There is a life besides acting. Sometimes it works to shrug it off and sometimes it doesn’t but if I insist on my family calling me different names every time I make a movie, that’s weird. [Smiles]

What can you tell me about your kids?
I have two, one at 16 and one at 20.

Sixteen can be a tough age.
Oh no, he’s cool.

How about you? Were you ever rebellious with your parents? Any drinking? Drugging?
No, but I left home when I was really young.

Did you run away?
No, I just moved.

How old were you?
17. I was into sports and swimming as a kid and didn’t spend a whole lot of time sitting down. I was a gymnast.

Was being an actor what you wanted most?
No. I never even thought about being an actor. Somebody asked me if I’d like to learn the craft and I said, “Okay.” I was a gymnast in a show at that time and somebody asked me afterwards one night. I performed as a gymnast for nine years and then I did acting after that.

Wow, you lead a charmed life. Have you ever had any dark periods?
Not seriously. Not depressed but you always have some dark periods. Sometimes you’re trying your best and you still can’t find a solution, but I try not to waste my life living in a dark place.

You seem happy. You have great laugh lines when you smile.
I was a happy kid. I smiled a lot.

Do you have siblings?
I have an older brother who is an actor as well.

Is he proud of you?
We’re proud of each other.

How is his career?
He’s very successful. Predominantly he does theater and he’s very good at it. He also does TV.

Do you like theater?
Not as much as making movies. I’m in love with film.

Have you ever experienced the down sides of fame?
Yes, all of it.

Obsessed stalker fans?
Yes, and everything else. You name it and it has happened. [Smiles]


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