Before Doctor Strange and Rogue One, take a look back at the best Mads Mikkelsen movies
Up until a few years ago, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was probably better known by his face than by his name. The NBC series Hannibal, in which he played the eponymous Dr. Lecter, made him a household name – or at least, it did in my household. Now, Mikkelsen is set to appear in two of the biggest nerd movies of the year: Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Let’s take a look back at some of his biggest roles.
Mikkelsen’s first feature film was also the feature directorial debut of Nicolas Winding Refn. In the film, Mikkelsen plays Tonny, the manic sidekick of a low-level drug dealer. The film was highly successful in Denmark, considered to be the first Danish gangster film, launched two sequels (one of which focused on Mikkelsen’s character) and the careers of both Winding Refn and Mikkelsen. The pair also teamed up for Winding Refn’s next film, the crime drama Bleeder (1999), another smash hit in Denmark.
Flickering Lights (2000)
Another Danish gangster film, this one a “black comedy,” Flickering Lights stars Mikkelsen as one of four gangsters who screw over their boss, flee the city, and decide to put their life of crime behind them and open a restaurant.
Shake It All About (2001)
Mikkelson plays one half of a gay couple who faces complications in his relationship when he falls in love with his husband’s sister-in-law.
Open Hearts (2002)
Part of the Dogme 95 school of filmmaking (which began as a way to take power back from the studios by focusing on story, acting and theme, without using any sort of special effects), Open Hearts features Mikkelsen as a doctor who becomes entwined in a complicated love affair after his wife gets into a car accident that leaves the other driver a paraplegic. Actor Zach Braff optioned the film in 2006 to do an American remake that still has not come to fruition.
The Green Butchers (2003)
Mads Mikkelsen sure likes cannibal roles! In this black comedy, Mikkelsen plays a butcher who sells human meat to his former boss as a form of revenge. Of course, the human meat is a huge success, and the butcher must turn to murder to keep up with demand.
King Arthur (2004)
Mikkelsen’s American film debut in King Arthur saw him as Tristan, one of the knights in Arthur’s court. The film traded medieval British knights for Roman cavalry officers and was set in 467 A.D. Fun fact: Mikkelsen starred beside Hugh Dancy, who played fellow “knight” Galahad. The pair would later go on to star together in Hannibal.
Casino Royale (2006)
In the 21st James Bond film, Mikkelsen plays Le Chiffre, a French financier of terrorism. The role was awarded to Mikkelsen during his first casting session, which felt a little “anti-climactic” to Mads, who was all ready to do more for the producers, including torture Daniel Craig. The torture waited until the actual shooting of the notorious torture scene in the film, a scene which stuck out to critics and fans alike.
In this Danish drama, Mikkelsen plays a man who goes to Prague with his wife to collect his deceased father’s body. Secrets are revealed and relationships are threatened. Mikkelsen won a Zulu Award for his portrayal, and was nominated for both a Bodil Award (presented by the Danish Film Critics Association) and a Robert Festival Award (the Danish equivalent of an Oscar).
Flame & Citron (2008)
Based on the true story of two Danish resistance fighters (nicknamed Flame and Citreon) during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, Mikkelsen plays Citreon. The film aimed to show that war was complicated and that good and evil aren’t always black and white. While Mikkelsen and the rest of the cast received high marks for their performances, many critics complained that Flame and Citreon were portrayed as “non-heroic.” Mikkelsen was nominated for both a Bodil and Robert Festival award.
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)
This is the fictional account of a rumored affair between fashion designer Coco Chanel and composer Igor Stravinsky. Mikkelsen plays Stravinsky, best known for his, at the time controversial, “The Rite of Spring.”
A Royal Affair (2012)
In this historical drama based on real events, Mikkelsen stars as Johann Friedrich Struensee, a liberal and enlightened physician who is brought in to care for the mentally ill king of Denmark. The two become close friends, and Struensee ends up becoming the de facto leader of the country (until the deception is revealed), as well as having an affair and a child with the queen.
The Hunt (2012)
Set in a small Danish town, Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a man who works at a local kindergarten. Through a series of circumstances, Lucas is falsely accused of sexual impropriety with one of his young charges. Mikkelsen received universal acclaim for the role, which garnered him a Bodil Award, Robert Festival Award, Zulu Award, Cannes Film Festival Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival award, and a half-dozen more nominations.
Hannibal (2013 – 2015)
When I think of Mads Mikkelsen, I think of him as Hannibal Lecter in Bryan Fuller‘s brilliant NBC series. Initially, Mikkelsen was wary of taking the role, not wishing to step on Anthony Hopkins’ Lecter legacy. His portrayal was “done to perfection” Mikkelsen said in an interview. But his portrayal of Dr. Lecter was critically acclaimed, and he won a Saturn Award for the role. Hannibal is set well before Silence of the Lambs. Dr. Lecter is an ice-cold psychiatrist who never breaks, whether he is therapizing Will Graham, slaughtering a victim, or preparing a sumptuous meal.
Doctor Strange (2016)
In theaters now, the latest Marvel Studios film sees Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, a Master of Mystic Arts who breaks away from the Ancient One. He is the combination of multiple antagonists from the comic book series, and serves as the film’s big bad.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
The first stand-alone Star Wars film, Mikkelsen has been cast as Galen Erso, “who sent the Rebels a transmission about the testing of the Death Star.” Erso is also the “distant father” of the film’s main character, Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), a Rebel who is tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star.
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(Photo Credit: Daniel Deme / WENN.com)