Mads Mikkelsen

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Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen Cannes 2013 2.jpg
Mikkelsen at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival
Born
Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen

(1965-11-22) 22 November 1965 (age 56)
Copenhagen, Denmark
OccupationActor
Years active1996–present
Spouse
Hanne Jacobsen
(m. 2000)
Children2
Relatives Lars Mikkelsen (brother)
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Dannebrog
Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters

Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen, [1] R (Danish:  [ˈmæs ˈmeɡl̩sn̩] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 22 November 1965) is a Danish actor. Originally a gymnast and dancer, he rose to fame in Denmark as an actor for his roles such as Tonny in the first two films of the Pusher film trilogy (1996, 2004), Detective Sergeant Allan Fischer in the television series Rejseholdet (2000–2004), Niels in Open Hearts (2002), Svend in The Green Butchers (2003), Ivan in Adam's Apples (2005) and Jacob Petersen in After the Wedding (2006).

Contents

Mikkelsen achieved worldwide recognition for playing the main antagonist Le Chiffre in the twenty-first James Bond film, Casino Royale (2006). [2] His other roles include Igor Stravinsky in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2008), Johann Friedrich Struensee in A Royal Affair (2012), his Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award-winning performance as Lucas in the Danish film The Hunt (2012), Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal (2013–2015), Kaecilius in Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016), Galen Erso in Lucasfilm's Rogue One (2016), Cliff Unger in Hideo Kojima's video game Death Stranding (2019), his BAFTA-nominated role as Martin in Another Round (2020) and Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022). [3]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times remarked that in the Hollywood scene, Mikkelsen has "become a reliable character actor with an intriguing mug" but stated that on the domestic front "he is something else: a star, an axiom, a face of the resurgent Danish cinema". [4]

Early life

Mikkelsen was born on 22 November 1965 in the Østerbro district of Copenhagen, Denmark, [1] the son of mother Bente Christiansen and father Henning Mikkelsen, [5] a cab driver. [6] He and his older brother, actor Lars Mikkelsen, were raised in the Nørrebro district. [7]

In his youth, he trained as a gymnast, wanting to pursue athletics, but then studied dancing at the Balettakademien (ballet academy) in Gothenburg where he also became fluent in Swedish. [8] During his dancing career, Mikkelsen met choreographer Hanne Jacobsen, whom he married in 2000. He was a professional dancer for almost a decade until he left it behind to study drama at the Århus Theatre School in 1996, embarking on a career in acting. [9] [10]

Career

1996–2005

Mikkelsen made his film debut in 1996 as a drug dealer in Nicolas Winding Refn's internationally successful film Pusher , which spawned two sequels. He played marginalized, often comic roles in popular Danish films. In 1999, Mikkelsen had a leading role as Lenny, a shy film expert who suffers from avoidant personality disorder, opposite Kim Bodnia in Refn's Bleeder (1999). In 2000, Mikkelsen played a gangster opposite Søren Pilmark, Ulrich Thomsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas in Anders Thomas Jensen's Copenhagen gangster film, Flickering Lights . The following year, he gained wider popularity when he starred in the gay comedy Shake It All About (2001). [11] [12]

In 2002, Mikkelsen had a starring role as a young doctor who falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his patients in Open Hearts which earned him both Robert and Bodil nominations in 2003 for best actor. He also won best actor for this performance at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival in 2003. [13] In 2003, Mikkelsen had a leading role as a man who leaves his wife and child in the short film Nu. [14] He starred opposite Kaas in The Green Butchers , playing an orphaned butcher's assistant in a small provincial Danish town, where human meat is a specialty. [15] He won the Fantasporto Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the butcher. Later in 2003, he starred in Pablo Berger's Spanish film Torremolinos 73 , about an exasperated encyclopedia salesman who exports pornographic films to Scandinavian countries under the pretense of being an audiovisual encyclopedia of human reproduction. Although a critical success in Spain, the film was poorly received in Scandinavian countries. [16]

In 2004, Mikkelsen reprised his role as drug dealer Tonny in the Pusher sequel, Pusher II . His performance was acclaimed, garnering him the Bodil Award for Best Actor, Zulu Award for Best Actor and Robert Festival Award for Best Actor. One writer likened his pose in the mirror in the film to Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver . [17] In 2005, Mikkelsen portrayed an "unorthodox country vicar" named Ivan who challenges a neo-Nazi (Ulrich Thomsen) who has been sentenced to community service to bake an apple pie in Adam's Apples . [18]

Mikkelsen's breakthrough and his longest running role was as a sensitive policeman in Niels Arden Oplev's Danish television series Rejseholdet (Unit One) (2000–03), for which he won the 2002 Best Actor Award from TvFestival.dk. The series' 32 episodes stretched over four years. He became more widely known internationally for his role as Tristan in Jerry Bruckheimer's production of the movie King Arthur (2004), which was a commercial success despite negative reviews. [19]

2006–2010

Mikkelsen at the 2009 Venice Film Festival Mads Mikkelsen cropped 2009.jpg
Mikkelsen at the 2009 Venice Film Festival

In 2006, Mikkelsen starred opposite Stine Stengade and Jana Plodková in Ole Christian Madsen's award-winning film Prag (Prague). His role as Christoffer earned him the Zulu Award for Best Actor and Bodil and Robert Festival nominations for Best Actor. Eddie Cockrell of Variety noted his "rigid countenance" in an "outstanding" performance. [20] The same year, Mikkelsen achieved his first widely acclaimed international success as Le Chiffre in the twenty-first James Bond film, Casino Royale . Mikkelsen has said that he so easily won the part that even Daniel Craig asked him if he had slept with someone in order to be cast. [21] He said of the casting, "They'd done their homework, seen my stuff, so it was fine, just a bit of anti-climax, because I was so ready to do more for them, but it was … shrugs... you're in." [21] He also stated that because he was already a big film star in Denmark at the time, that the international role did not really change much. [21] Roger Ebert noted the suspense during Mikkelsen's scene with Bond during the extended poker game, in which Le Chiffre weeps blood from his left eye. [22] David Edelstein of New York Magazine said "Mikkelsen clicks his rectangular plaques as if he's a new breed of praying mantis. He's bloodcurdling." [23] In 2006, Mikkelsen also took the lead role in the Danish drama After the Wedding , which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. [12] He won the Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Actor and a European Film Award for Best Actor nomination for his performance. The New York Times remarked that on the Hollywood scene, Mikkelsen has "become a reliable character actor with an intriguing mug" but stated that on the domestic front "he is something else: a star, an axiom, a face of the resurgent Danish cinema." [24]

In 2008, Mikkelsen portrayed Danish resistance fighter Jørgen Haagen Schmith opposite Thure Lindhardt and Stine Stengade in Ole Christian Madsen's Flame & Citron (Flammen & Citronen), a film which is loosely based on actual events involving two of the most active fighters in the Holger Danske resistance group during World War II. [25] Mikkelsen's character nicknamed "Citronen" is named after a Citroën factory in which he works. [26] Michael O' Sullivan of The Washington Post likened Mikkelsen and Lindhardt's characters to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and said that it is "the story of handsome rogues with guns. It's fast-paced, stylish and thrilling." [26] In 2008, Mikkelsen also provided the voice for the character Le Chiffre in the Quantum of Solace video game, and he represented Le Chiffre when he was invited to the launch of Swiss watchmaker Swatch's "007 Villain Collection" in Bregenz, Austria. [27] The following year, gaining a reputation as one of Europe's most sensuous male actors, Mikkelsen played a hot-blooded Stravinsky opposite Anna Mouglalis in Jan Kounen's critically acclaimed Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky based on the romance between the composer and the fashion designer. Empire magazine described it as a "visually stunning film [which] focuses on Chanel and Stravinsky's illicit relationship in 1920s France." [28] Philip French of The Observer described the film as a "beautiful, intelligent, shallow film, like a pane of plate glass that at first glance looks like a deep lake", and remarked that Mikkelsen's Stravinsky matched Mouglalis's Coco Chanel as a "fellow modernist and equally cool egotist." [29] Mikkelsen then returned to violent action, collaborating once again with Refn, playing a Norse warrior in the Crusades in Valhalla Rising (2009) and Draco, a self-sacrificing leader of the king's guard in Clash of the Titans (2010). [12] Valhalla Rising was shot entirely in Scotland. [30]

2011–present

Mikkelsen at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International Mads Mikkelsen by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Mikkelsen at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International

In 2011, he played Comte de Rochefort in another box-office success, The Three Musketeers , which earned poor reviews from critics. [31] In 2012, he starred in The Hunt , for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. [2] He played a schoolteacher wrongly accused of child molestation, earning nominations for the European Film Award for Best Actor and the London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year for his performance. The same year he starred in the Oscar-nominated historical drama A Royal Affair taking the role of the 18th century physician Johann Friedrich Struensee who had an affair with Queen Caroline Mathilda while treating the mentally ill Danish monarch, Christian VII. The movie was one of the highest budget Danish films of all time largely due to its extravagant costumes and was well received by critics. [32] Mikkelsen said of his role, "I was surprised how emotional I got reading this, especially for a period drama. And it was full of dilemma – he's full of love for both the king and the queen, but then he remains political, starts spinning his tunnel vision, and all of a sudden he's doing the exact same things he hated all the other courtiers for doing, and I thought that was interesting, and very human." [21] In 2012, he was also awarded the Danish American Society's Person of the Year. [33]

Mikkelsen played Hannibal Lecter in NBC's TV series Hannibal (2013–15), alongside Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham. [34] The series has been a critical success, with Mikkelsen's performance as Lecter earning praise. [35] Mikkelsen was initially dubious about accepting the role, as he believed that Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Lecter was "done to perfection". [36] He said of his character, "He's not a classic psychopath or a classic serial killer. I believe that he's as close to Satan as can be – the fallen angel. He sees the beauty in death. And every day is a new day, full of opportunities." [36]

In 2013, he appeared in Charlie Countryman alongside Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and later that year played the title character in Michael Kohlhaas , which had its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. In 2014, he starred in The Salvation , a Danish western. Mikkelsen appeared on Rihanna's music video for "Bitch Better Have My Money" as her accountant, the song's titular "bitch" who stole from her. [37]

In 2016, Mikkelsen was a member of the main competition jury of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. [38] In October 2016, he appeared as Kaecilius in the Marvel film Doctor Strange , alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton. Although his character was criticized for being under-utilized and another "generic baddie" for Marvel, [39] [40] [41] Mikkelsen's performance was a favorite of Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com: "Mikkelsen is a master at being in on the joke while still delivering every line with imagination and feeling.... he's often knowing and wry, even arch, a mix of performance traits that's often hard to combine with any success." [42] In December 2016, Mikkelsen portrayed Galen Erso in the Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story . [43] In 2018, he starred in a survival thriller Arctic , directed by the Brazilian filmmaker Joe Penna. [44] He played the villainous mayor in Doug Liman's adapted science fiction film Chaos Walking , based on Patrick Ness' trilogy novels of the same name. [45]

Mikkelsen starred in Hideo Kojima's video game Death Stranding . [46] In 2018, he had a supporting role in Julian Schnabel's film At Eternity's Gate starring Willem Dafoe. [47] In 2019, he starred in Jonas Åkerlund's action film Polar , which is based on Víctor Santos' graphic novel Polar: Came With the Cold . [48] On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 19% based on reviews from 47 critics. [49] Mikkelsen has also appeared in Carlsberg's new 2019 UK advert, announcing that the brand's flagship beer has been rebrewed to become a Danish pilsner. [50]

In November 2020, Mikkelsen was revealed to be in early talks with Warner Bros. for the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore , in which he replaced Johnny Depp after the latter lost in a defamation trial against News Group Newspapers. [51] On 25 November, Warner Bros confirmed that Mikkelsen was cast as Grindelwald in the film. [52]

In April 2021, Mikkelsen joined the cast of Indiana Jones 5 . [53]

He is also set to star in Amma Asante's Cold War thriller Billion Dollar Spy. [54]

In May 2022, it was announced he would be reprising his role of Duncan Vizla in a new film titled The Black Kaiser with Jonas Akerlund returning to direct the film, which Mikkelsen had co written. [55] That same year, it was announced he would star in Nikolaj Arcel's new film The King's Land which will start shooting in September 2022. [56]

Personal life

In 2000, Mikkelsen married choreographer Hanne Jacobsen, whom he had been with since 1987. They have two children. [57] [58]

Mikkelsen has lived in Copenhagen all his life, except when living in Toronto while filming Hannibal. [59] He is based in Denmark and has a residence on the Spanish island of Mallorca, which he first visited in the late 1990s. [60]

He is "routinely" voted the "sexiest man" in Denmark. [61] Mikkelsen is irreligious. [62] [63]

Honours

On 15 April 2010, Mikkelsen was appointed Ridder (Knight) of the Order of the Dannebrog. [64] In April 2016, the French government appointed Mikkelsen a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. [65]

Filmography

Film

Key
Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes works that have not yet been released
YearTitleRoleDirector
1996 Pusher Tonny Nicolas Winding Refn
1998 Wildside Jimmy Simon Staho
Angel of the Night Ronnie Galway Shaky González
1999 Bleeder LennyNicolas Winding Refn (2)
2000 Flickering Lights Arne Anders Thomas Jensen
2001 Mona's World Casper Jonas Elmer
Shake It All About Jacob Hella Joof
2002 I Am Dina Niels Ole Bornedal
Open Hearts Niels Susanne Bier
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself Horst Lone Scherfig
2003 The Green Butchers SvendAnders Thomas Jensen (2)
Torremolinos 73 Magnus Pablo Berger
2004 King Arthur Tristan Antoine Fuqua
Pusher II TonnyNicolas Winding Refn (3)
2005 Adam's Apples Ivan FjeldstedAnders Thomas Jensen (3)
2006 After the Wedding Jacob PedersonSusanne Bier (2)
Prague Christoffer Ole Christian Madsen
Exit Thomas Skepphult Peter Lindmark
Casino Royale Le Chiffre Martin Campbell
2008 Flame & Citron Jørgen Haagen "Citronen" Schmith Ole Christian Madsen (2)
2009 Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky Igor Stravinsky Jan Kounen
Valhalla Rising One-EyeNicolas Winding Refn (4)
The Door David Andernach Anno Saul
2010 Clash of the Titans Draco Louis Leterrier
Moomins and the Comet Chase Sniff Maria Lindberg
2011 The Three Musketeers Comte de Rochefort Paul W. S. Anderson
2012 A Royal Affair Johann Friedrich Struensee Nikolaj Arcel
The Hunt Lucas Thomas Vinterberg
Move OnMark Asger Leth
2013 Charlie Countryman Nigel Fredrik Bond
Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas Michael Kohlhaas Arnaud des Pallières
2014 The Salvation Jon Jensen Kristian Levring
2015 Men & Chicken EliasAnders Thomas Jensen (4)
2016 Doctor Strange Kaecilius Scott Derrickson
Rogue One Galen Erso Gareth Edwards
2018 Arctic Overgård Joe Penna
At Eternity's Gate The Priest Julian Schnabel
2019 Polar Duncan Vizla Jonas Åkerlund
2020 Another Round MartinThomas Vinterberg (2)
Riders of Justice Markus HansenAnders Thomas Jensen (5)
2021 Chaos Walking Mayor David Prentiss Doug Liman
2022 Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Gellert Grindelwald David Yates
2023 Untitled fifth Indiana Jones film Dagger-14-plain.png James Mangold
King's LandDagger-14-plain.png Ludvig von Kahlen Nikolaj Arcel (2)

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2000–2004 Rejseholdet Allan Fisher32 episodes
2005 Julie Harald6 episodes
2005 Klovn MadsEpisode: "Str. 44"
2013–2015 Hannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter 39 episodes

Video games

YearTitleRoleNotes
2008 007: Quantum of Solace Le Chiffre Voice
2019 Death Stranding Clifford UngerVoice and motion capture

Music videos

YearArtistTitleRole
2009 Jokeren "Sig Ja"Male Lead
2011 Sólstafir "Djákninn"Viking Man
2015 Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"The Accountant

Awards and nominations

YearAwardTitleResult
2001 Zulu Award for Best Actor Shake It All About Won
2002 Rouen Nordic Film Festival Award for Best Actor Open Hearts Won
2002 Bodil Award for Best Actor Open Hearts Nominated
2002 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor Open Hearts Nominated
2002 Zulu Award for Best Supporting Actor Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself Won
2003 Fantasporto Award for Best Actor The Green Butchers Won
2003 Bodil Award for Best Actor The Green Butchers Nominated
2004 Zulu Award for Best Actor Pusher II Won
2004 Bodil Award for Best Actor Pusher II Won
2004 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor Pusher II Won
2005 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Award for Best Actor Adam's Apples Won
2005 Robert Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor Adam's Apples Nominated
2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Actor After the Wedding Won
2006 European Film Award for Best Actor After the Wedding Nominated
2006 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor After the Wedding Nominated
2006 Zulu Award for Best Actor Prague Won
2006 Bodil Award for Best Actor Prague Nominated
2006 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor Prague Nominated
2008 European Film Award for Best Actor Flame & Citron Nominated
2008 Robert Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor Flame & Citron Nominated
2009 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor Valhalla Rising Nominated
2011 European Film Academy Achievement in World Cinema Award N/AWon
2012 Bodil Award for Best Actor A Royal Affair Nominated
2012 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor A Royal Affair Nominated
2012 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor The Hunt Won
2012 Robert Festival Award for Best Actor The Hunt Won
2012 Bodil Award for Best Actor The Hunt Won
2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Actor The Hunt Won
2012 Zulu Award for Best Actor The Hunt Won
2012 International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actor The Hunt Nominated
2012 International Online Film Critics' Poll Award for Best Actor The Hunt Nominated
2012 European Film Award for Best Actor The Hunt Nominated
2012 London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year The Hunt Nominated
2012 Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor The Hunt Nominated
2013 César Award for Best Actor Michael Kohlhaas Nominated
2013 Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television [66] Hannibal Won
2014 Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television Hannibal Nominated
2015 Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television Hannibal Nominated
2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Best TV Actor [67] Hannibal Nominated
2015 Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama Hannibal Nominated
2015 Zulu Award for Best Actor Men & Chicken Won
2016 Zulu Award for Best Actor Doctor Strange Won
2018 Lauritzen Award [68] N/AWon
2019 The Game Award for Best Performance [69] Death Stranding Won
2020 Silver Shell for Best Actor [70] Another Round Won
2020 European Film Award for Best Actor [71] Another Round Won
2020 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Another Round Nominated

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Further reading