Mads Mikkelsen: ‘For a Danish guy, it’s insane to be in these [Hollywood] films’

Mads Mikkelsen has been going through some European film festivals to promote his latest Danish film, The Promised Land. Few European actors have succeeded as Mads has with moving between local projects and big Hollywood films. While he was in Zurich for their film festival, he did some kind of Q&A session with an audience, where he reflected back on his career. His quotes were great – Mads is not only a tall drink of water, he’s also very charming and he seems just like a normal guy you might meet in Denmark. Some highlights:

Losing the Casino Royale script: “‘Casino Royale’ was the first screenplay with my name on every single page. Which also means that if you lose it, it’s on you. I got on a plane, started to read it and I fell asleep. Then I got out and just left it there. I was lucky some cleaning person threw it away and didn’t know what it was. That could have been the end of my career, right then.”

Playing Le Chiffre in the Bond film:
“The ‘smartest’ Bond villain? He lost $100 million to a man who couldn’t play poker. Not that smart. I had never watched a Bond movie up to that point and of course I lied about it. I only knew that guy with metal teeth [Jaws]. I didn’t realize how big it was until we had the premiere in London and had to meet the Queen. Or she had to meet us.”

He loves Daniel Craig: “I have seen the ones with Daniel Craig. [Back then] he was the new Bond and everything about him was ‘wrong.’ His height, his nose, his hair. I think he was glad I also came from indie films. He had a partner in crime. There was this scene where I tickled his balls with a rope. We had so many ideas and the director just looked at us: ‘Guys, come back. It’s a Bond movie’.”

He loved being part of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” “For a Danish guy, it’s insane to be in these films. My friend made a list of all the franchises I’ve been in and went: ‘This one you haven’t done.’ It was ‘Indiana Jones.’ A week later, I got the phone call. It’s surreal when you think about it, so I try not to think about it. Sure, it’s Harrison Ford and he is a legend, but I will kick the sh-t out of him anyway.”

Being there for Harrison’s last scenes as Indy: Watching Ford hang up his whip for good was “beautiful,” said the actor. “We were all there when he did his very last scene as Indiana Jones. The humble man that he is, he wanted to get out of that room as fast as possible when everyone was clapping, and at the same time he wanted to stay there forever and embrace the moment.”

He will always return to Danish films: “It’s my friends, my stories, my language. I have the urge to go back. You have to be careful not to make it too comfortable, though, so we always try to push each other a little further. That’s the main goal of feeling ‘comfortable.’” He also recalled his first role in Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Pusher” back in 1996. “In Denmark, we waited forever to see films like the ones we loved. For me, it was ‘Taxi Driver.’ That kind of energy wasn’t there and then this guy came along. For the first time, it was the same generation making films. At the beginning, we had to define ourselves as a unit and it was a key to our success.”

His marriage: “A secret to a happy marriage? Every morning at 8am, we… The secret is to love each other, simple as that.”

He wears his fame lightly: “Fame wasn’t really on my radar. Then I did a TV show and since then, I couldn’t buy cigarettes in a normal way. It was either ‘here are your cigarettes, sir’ or ‘take your f–king cigarettes and get out’. The thing is, I don’t go out feeling paranoid, because every time I completely forget I am famous. I am so pleased I have this gene.”

[From Variety]

When Mads and Harrison were in Cannes to promote the Indiana Jones movie, every time they stood together or sat down together, Mads looked like he was living every single one of his childhood dreams. It was clear that he adored Harrison and Harrison’s approach to the work as well, because I think the two men are probably very similar in that way. Anyway, Mads seems like such a cool guy and it really is crazy to think that this random actor from Denmark has fashioned this huge Hollywood career, and yet he wears it all so lightly.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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18 Responses to “Mads Mikkelsen: ‘For a Danish guy, it’s insane to be in these [Hollywood] films’”

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  1. Ameerah M says:

    Mads is my screensaver on my phone. I look at his amazing cheekbones everyday all day.

  2. I love me some Mads💕💕💕.

    • Ok I was too quick to 💕 Mads. He apparently has some things that I don’t support. Apparently I was taken in by a pretty face. My bad! Course correction being made. You would think I would be too old to be taken in by a pretty face but nope. Mea Culpa

      • SarahCS says:

        Yep, I only found that out in the last week or so, it’s so disappointing! Apparently we can’t have nice (pretty) things.

  3. lauren says:

    Mads is a big Jordan Peterson fan. He can eff off.

    • Ameerah M says:

      Really?! Where did you find this out?

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, that’s right — I read that too. He’s also an anti-vaxxer and thinks Hollywood needs to be “nicer” to conservatives.

      • Eurydice says:

        I don’t know about his politics, but Denmark has always had a different view of how to deal with Covid, so maybe he’s reflecting that?

      • NJGR says:

        Noooo! Where did you hear this?

      • ArtHistorian says:

        We had 3 lockdowns, an extensive vaccination program and widespread testing stations during the worst of it. I don’t think that is different than other countries.

        I don’t know Mads’ politics – but compared to Denmark US politics is really extreme. The Democrats are closer to Danish center/right wing politics than Danish left wing politics.

  4. Macky says:

    I can’t stress enough how good “Indiana and the dial of destiny” is. I’ve never watched an Indian Jones move from beginning to end until this one. Most people didn’t like waller-bridges. While I didn’t think she handled all the dialog well ,I think she embodied the role. I completely understood her casting. The kid was a great actor. He did wonderfully. In the old days he would be up for a supporting Oscar.

    This movie was the first movie I have seen where IMAX beat dolby. It felt like I was riding a helicopter in a thunderstorm. Thr colors was awesome. The movie was worth the ticket price. People started going to the bar and just hanging out in the front row. Enjoying the movie.

    As soon as the movie would get tedious it switches to something else. Great movie if you want to learn camera placement.

    • Lily says:

      Well, I have watched all of them until the end and the first three repeatedly – the Dial of Destiny is really good. Unexpectedly good, to be honest. It truly felt like a closure, probably because Indy himself was just.. acting his age, more or less. The movie was just as much about Indy and the emotions he was going through as it was about the adventure. Surprisingly heartfelt.

      Phoebe Waller-Bridge was great. I kind of expected her performance to be a bit less subtle – more like Fleabag’s funnier moments, but she was really good.

      I loved Mads Mikkelsen in it, but with the stuff coming out about him being a climate change denier and everything… I don’t need to see him in another movie.

  5. Alyse says:

    He plays a good “bad guy”! His brother Lars Mikkelsen is also a well known actor and doing well in his own right, he’s just played a leading role in Ahsoka.

  6. Lurker25 says:

    Speaking of tall drinks of water, Boyd Holbrook is in the movie?!! Boyd, mads, and Harrison – what a combo. I might have to see this after all even though I was so sure it sucks.

    PSA – Boyd was a model since the 90s. Man can’t take a bad photo, ever. Had this really delicate beauty then. Google “Boyd and Omahyra” – two stunning androgynous ppl in love.

    He’s now married to a Danish woman. Wonder what he and Mads talked about…

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The Miikkelsen brothers can both get it from me. Dunno what it is about them.

      As for Boyd Holbrook yeah he’s easy on the eye and an underrated actor to boot. He was great in The Sandman.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Boyd Holbrook is handsome and talented. He’s great as the villain in Justified: City Primeval.

  7. phlyfiremama says:

    Can we just go ahead and enshrine him in the “forever dong” category??

  8. Hayley says:

    I used to love Mads. Then I found out he is a Jordan Peterson fan, a climate change denier, a big fan of Johnny Depp, and of course a JK Rowling defender. His support of Depp & Rowling was very measured when he signed on to the Fantastic Beast franchise, but it was support nonetheless. And then when I found out about the other stuff, I was done. Nobody’s hot enough for me to forgive this many bad takes.