Mikkelsen at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival
22 November 1965 |
Østerbro, Copenhagen, Denmark
|Spouse(s)||Hanne Jacobsen (m. 2000)|
Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen ( listen (help·info); born 22 November 1965) is a Danish actor. Originally a gymnast and dancer, he began his career as an actor in 1996. He rose to fame in Denmark as Tonny the drug dealer in the first two films of the Pusher film trilogy, and in his longest-running role as the brash yet sensitive policeman, Allan Fischer, in Peter Thorsboe's Danish television series Rejseholdet (Unit One) (2000–2003).
Mikkelsen became more widely known internationally for his role as Tristan in Jerry Bruckheimer's production King Arthur (2004), but is best known worldwide for playing the main antagonist Le Chiffre in the twenty-first James Bond film, Casino Royale (2006). He has since become known for his roles as Igor Stravinsky in Jan Kounen's French film Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2008) and his Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award-winning role as Lucas in the 2012 Danish film The Hunt. In 2012, he was awarded the Danish American Society's Person of the Year. He currently stars in the TV series Hannibal as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. 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".
Mikkelsen was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, the second son of Bente Christiansen, a nurse, and Henning Mikkelsen, a banker. He and his older brother, Lars, who is also an actor, were raised in Nørrebro.
In his youth he trained as a gymnast, wanting to pursue athletics, but then studied dancing at the ballet academy in Gothenburg where he also became fluent in Swedish. He was a professional dancer for almost a decade until he left it behind to study drama at the Århus Theatre School in 1996, to embark on a career in acting.
He made his film debut in Nicolas Winding Refn's internationally successful film Pusher (1996) which would later spawn two sequels, in which he played a drug dealer. He went on to play marginalized, often comic roles in popular Danish movies. 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 movie, Flickering Lights. The following year, he gained wider popularity when he starred in the gay comedy Shake It All About (2001).
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.
In 2003, Mikkelsen had a leading role as a man who leaves his wife and child in the short picture Nu. 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. 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 pretence of being an audiovisual encyclopedia of human reproduction. Although a critical success in Spain, the film was poorly received in Scandinavian countries.
In 2004, he returned to 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. In 2005, Mikkelsen portrayed an "unorthodox country vicar" named Ivan who challenges a neo-Nazi (played by Ulrich Thomsen) to bake an apple pie in Adam's Apples.
Mikkelsen's breakthrough and his longest running role was as a sensitive policeman in Niels Arden Oplev's Danish television series Rejseholdet (Unit One) (2000–2003) 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.
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. 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 claimed that he so easily won the part that even Daniel Craig asked him if he had slept with someone in order to be cast. 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." He also stated that because he was already a big film star in Denmark at the time that the international role didn't really change much. 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. 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." 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. 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."
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. Mikkelsen's character nicknamed "Citronen" is named after a Citroen factory in which he works. 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." 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. 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." 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." 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). Valhalla Rising was shot entirely in Scotland.
In 2012, he starred in The Hunt, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. 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. 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." In 2012, he was also awarded the Danish American Society's Person of the Year. 
He stars in the TV series Hannibal as Dr. Hannibal Lecter opposite King Arthur co-star and friend Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham, airing on NBC in the U.S. The series has been a critical success, with Mikkelsen's performance as Lecter earning particular praise. Mikkelsen was initially dubious about accepting the role, as he believed that Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Lecter was "done to perfection". 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." After two 13-episode seasons in 2013 and 2014, NBC has announced that the series has been renewed for a third season in 2015. 
He appeared in Charlie Countryman, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2013, and played the title character in Michael Kohlhaas, which had its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He is filming The Salvation, a western set for a 2014 release. He will also lend his voice to Kung Fu Panda 3, which is set for a 2015 release. He will star in the remake of the Spanish slasher film Cut-Throats Nine (1972) opposite Harvey Keitel and Jordi Mollà.
In 2000, Mikkelsen married choreographer Hanne Jacobsen, whom he had been dating since 1987. They have a daughter (Viola) and son (Carl). Mikkelsen lived in Copenhagen all his life, until he moved to Toronto in 2012 when the filming of Hannibal started. He is often voted the "sexiest man" in Denmark in polls. Mikkelsen is nonreligious.
|2000–2003||Rejseholdet||Allan Fisher||32 episodes|
|2005||Julie||Julie's dad/Harald||5 episodes|
|2013–present||Hannibal||Dr. Hannibal Lecter||Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television (2014)
Pending—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2015)
|2008||007: Quantum of Solace||Le Chiffre (voice)|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mads Mikkelsen.|
- Official website
- Mads Mikkelsen official on Facebook
- Mads Mikkelsen at the Internet Movie Database
- Mads Online (fan site)
- Mads-mikkelsen.net (fan site)
- (English) / (French) Interview with Mads Mikkelsen on Filmsactu.com
- Interview with Mads Mikkelsen on Futuremovies.co.uk