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Mads Mikkelsen: “Mikael Persbrandt is like my big brother”

Source: Expressen
Date: May 19, 2014

Mads Mikkelsen may play Mikael Persbrandt’s hardline little brother on horseback in New Western film “The Salvation” but when he cut himself badly during filming in South Africa and was close to having to amputate, the Dane was not so vain. When they began to discuss where they would take off his finger, it was no fun.

From acclaimed doctor in “A Royal Affair” to praised pedophile accused school teacher in “The Hunt” – and now cowboy in something as unconventional as a Danish Western, Mads Mikkelsen, 48, says that the step is not as big as it sounds.

« I see no big difference in my acting in “The Hunt” and in this western movie. Yes, I had to learn to ride and shoot the gun, but both are dramas and I have accepted the roles with the same feelings, says the Danish superstar, who plays emigrant Jon in Kristian Levrings’s”The Salvation”.

The Danish Cowboy face the brutality of the Wild West’s most ruthless bandits and the script entails both a wife who’s raped a murdered son.

Close to lose a finger

While filming in South Africa, it became bloody, Mads Mikkelsen tells Expressen that the role could have cost him a finger.
‘We were in the middle of nowhere and I sat and whittled sticks, when I cut myself, deeply. I thought “that’s not so bad,” and we filmed on in mud and rain. The finger was completely black and infected. The doctors began to discuss whether they would take it here or here, says Mads holding up his index finger. But they gave me lot of drugs, which I didn’t take…

Why were you carving, are you Emil?
– Yes, I’m Emil, I carve all the time … I like to take my hat and go and sit somewhere else. It’s nice having colleagues and being on a shooting location, but I have a need to get away for myself as well, especially when doing strong and sentimental scenes. I carve walking sticks with snakes on, he laughs. Very childish, but nice.

International Career
“The Salvation” may be a Danish production but the 48-year-old father of two has been in recent years a Bond villain and TV series “Hannibal”, with an international career that has got Danish people to stretch your back.

Is there a pressure?
– No, I feel no pressure, responds Mads Mikkelsen as he lights a cigarette. That goes up and down, last week I was the “week’s idiot” in Denmark. I have done both good and just things, sometimes it’s been my fault, sometimes the director. I am proud that they think so now, but also know that that’s out of my control.

How often do you hear that you’re like Viggo Mortensen?
– It happens all the time, but maybe even more before my international career. Once when I was at a gala a photographer started shouting “Viggo! Viggo!”, And everyone else followed. The day after it said “Viggo Mortensen” under a lot of pictures. I might have to stop them, but thought it was pretty funny, he smiles.

“We can fight forever”
The role of Mads Mikkelsen’s bang-brother in “The Salvation”, is played by Mikael Persbrandt.
– We had a really good time filming in South Africa, it was fun to camp with Mikey. It was actually my real brother who would have done the role, but it did not worked out, but I am very happy that Mikael could take it. I think it is possible to see our fraternity in the movie.

Could Persbrandt be the little brother?
– No, absolutely impossible. He’s like my big brother in real life too, I’m the annoying one and he is the great calm – he thinks anyway, haha.We always fight when we’re together. He’s a little bigger, but I’m faster, says Mads Mikkelsen.