Part of the Danish world heritage, he is in the next Star Wars, legendaryJames Bond villain and Doctor Lecter’s most likeable face. But where are these compered to Rihanna’s clip which catapulted him up to the top of the family hierarchy. The still smoking hot star gave an exclusive interview to theHungarian Marie Claire.
(author: Gábor Köves)
He is a star in Europe, a charismatic character-actor in America – stands on Mads Mikkelsen Hollywood card-index, but this is just a temporary state, because the No.1 actor of Danes, James Bond’s memorable antipode, and the favourite cannibal of the series-addicts is shooting the Marvel’s next big movie, the Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch and he will be shown in the this year’s part of Star Wars. The 50 year old star is also a returning guest in Cannes: sometimes he gets award (example for best actor in 2012,The Hunt), sometimes he gives award to someone else – he clapped László Nemes Jeles [(the director of Son of Saul, the second Hungarian Oscar winning film in history)] on the shoulder in the ceremony of the Grand Prix.
Mads Mikkelsen feels at home: he has every reason for it: if he wasn’t talking with us than he would be probably smoking in cheerful mood in the spacious livingrom of his Copenhagen home, from which we can see only what a Skype-talking lets us: the actor and a cupboard. The questionable furniture isn’t uninteresting, but Mads is much more attractive – the star of the Open hearts, Adam’s apple and The Hunt not only understands the humor but also loves it (the same hard to be claimed about the cupboard): even the smoke emitted by the actor can’t blur the irony hiding in his answer.
However Mads Mikkelsen doesn’t go back home to Denmark only for smoking and ironizing, but also for shooting. Right now he shows his face unknown in Hollywood: masterfully acted features of the human idiocy in the Men and Chicken.
Do you see me well?
Yes. And do you see me well?
Perfectly. But wait a min, I’ll turn the volume up on my laptop and bring an ashtray.
Feel free to light a cigarette. What brand do you smoke?
King’s favourite. Original, oldschool Danish cigarettes without filter.
It bothers you that there is hardly any place outside your livingroom where you can smoke a King’s?
I have been used to it. That’s okay you can’t smoke in a restaurant, but it’s not okay that there isn’t a single smoking premise. Nowhere. Maybe it is forbidden by the political correctness, I think. But I say there is no problem with that if you pay a lot of money for an expensive lunch than you don’t have to worry about that someone blow smoke into your face.
Let’s get over to the chickens. Since the Men and Chicken you can look at the chicken with the same eyes than before?
I’ve never been a chicken fan. I’m afraid I’m one of those who believe there are more attractive animals than the chickens. They are very ugly creatures, at least in my opinion. I can’t tell you one chicken body part what I would find aesthetic. Excuse me, my daugter forgot her keys…
(He stands up, conversation in the backgroud, then he sits back.)
We were at the chickens…
Yes, chickens. Well, pretty wild things happen both to the chickens and men in this film, but the fact is that I still eat a chicken sish kebab without problems, so I didn’t suffer a serious shock. I don’t want to diminish the chickens’ acting skill, but they leave a much to be desired. Constant suprises can happen to you even with the best trained animals. In this case you can do nothing, but improvise and somehow must get to the end of the scene.
So the chickens, unless they are skewered, don’t belong to your favourites. You are a dog person?
Tiger, not dog. I’ve been dreaming about since I was a child that once in my life a giant tiger will be my best friend.
The Men and Chicken is your fourth, but not the first chicken movie together with director Thomas Anders Jensen.
Our first film was the Flickering Lights…
And the first with chicken was The Green Butchers in which you as a sweating butcher sold the human flesh as chicken.
Yes, it’s undeniable. Sometimes it happens that in a director’s oeuvre the chicken repeatedly showing up, but here, I think, this is a mere coincidence, because The Green Butchers and the Men and Chicken are as different as chalk and cheese, two different worlds, just as the characters I’m playing. The chiken in one of the films shows up on the menu, in the other the chicken appears in the bedroom.
Theres is some cannibalism in The Green Butchers, but far less than in the TV series, called Hannibal. As Hannibal you doled out fellow people’s punishment, but in Rihanna’s clip the tables have turned: the torturer become tortured. You are pretty rough-housed in Bitch Better Have My Money. How could this happen?
It’s a simple story. Rihanna saw me in one of my films and contacted with my manager. Just one day work, nothing more. And if a fater with one single day work can grow in his children eyes as much as you could wait from acting in a Rihanna’s clip, than there is no question, you have to take the oppurtunity. You cannot imagine how much this little role boosted up my barometer of coolness. My kids were over the moon. Especially I grew big in my son’s eyes. I had been cool with my James Bond role, but this exceeded even that.
I think this is the right time to put on end to two well-knownJames Bond anecdotes. According to the one, before it was proclaimed that you would be the villain of the first Bond-film with Daniel Craig, your taxidriver father in his happiness had told the good news to his every passanger in Copenhagen.
It’s a totally unrealistic story. Is all the more because my dad is not a taxidriver.
According to another commonly known story you got the role so easily that Daniel Craig remarked that you probably had sex with somebody for achieving that goal.
I got the role without attend to one audition. This fact suprised Daniel so much, because he had to go through a five round procedure to got Bond’s role by the time. That’s why he made the mentioned remark.
Recently on your official site appeared a video made by one of your fans: the enthusiastic composer mixed a David Bowie song below a shortfilm was made at one of your photoshoot. Did you have juvenile Bowie-mania like your fellow countryman Lars von Tier had?
After Bowie had died, I had been hearing Bowie songs everywhere for two weeks, anywhere I went. I was in the make-up room, in my car, wherever, he sang. Actually I realized that his songs Meant so much to me however I wasn’t his biggest fan and I didn’t rampage on his every concert. Wow, I know this song, and that too – I had to marvel at Bowie’s amazing variegation at my every turn.
Top three Bowie-song?
“Changes”, “Life on Mars”, and the “Let’s dance”. The last one is especially dear to my heart.
It has many reasons. When I first heard it I was a teen and then every guy at my age booed: look, Bowie sold his soul and make pop music. But hey, what kind of pop music does he make? And when my daughter was a dancer, this Bowie-song played an important role in her life too, so this song very special for me.
Were you a disco-guy?
Me? No!! I was a Pink Floyd- and Door-guy.
Metal? And headbang?
Aye. A day couldn’t pass without headbang. This was my common dance style.
(The irony clearly visible even through Skype.)
You are a big fan of classical music. Your ballet-dancer past has to do with the adoration?
I took to the classicals much more earlier. When I was a little child I saw a film about Chopin. I don’t remember which was that film, but later I tracked down that what I liked so much in that film it was the Polonaise in A flat major, Op.53. (Mads Mikkelsen starts to humming: ram-ba-ram, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bam… ta-ram-tam-tam…) I quickly visited the local library and listened it three times on a week. I had been doing it for a pretty long time. It would be useless to deny I’m a romantic nature. And after that I listened another albums, moreover I rented them. So it started like this.
Who are your other important composers beside Chopin?
The rite of spring by Stravinsky is always hits me in my head. It stands so close to me, all the more because I also played Stravinsky (in the film called Coco Chanel and Igor Stavinsky).
Which were harder? To get into the big Russian compser’s skin or to play the Men and Chicken’s Elias who is struggling with mental challenges?
They were both different challenges. Stravinsky meant a technical nature trial: I had to learn speak Russian, speak French and even to play on piano. These together, though, are quite stressful. Thereafter I had to build up the character, after all this is the actor’s task. In the Men and Chicken I had to find back to the director’s bizarre and mad world, keeping in mind that under the loads of madness always there is something human, beautiful and poetic.
You’ve just come from London where you were shooting the Marvel’s new comic film with Benedict Cumberbatch. It seems that working with Cumberbatch is becoming to a family tradition at you.
With me just two Mikkelsens have shot with him until now. Before me my brother (Lars Mikkelsen) had the luck. And it’s really is luck because Benedict is a very talented young man. At least he is younger than us. TheSherlock – I can say it without any overstatement – is already a legend in the world of tv series. My brother played in it, he loved to make it.
Now you’ve called Cumberbatch, who will be 40 in this year young man, I have to ask what do you think about your age? Officially you are middle-aged.
I celebrated my 50th birhtday last year. I keep saying to myself it wasn’t a big thing, it was only a number too. I’m still thinking it’s only a number, but my optimism is vainly unbroken, I hardly can ignore that I’m on my halfway point. If I had big big luck I’d have fifteen once more. Although I would like to live about 150 years, I would feel good myself on my 200. birthday too.
For your birthday your collegue and good friend, Ulrich Thomasen painted your portrait. How could I say it… So there is something frightening on that painting…
Ulrich’s style is like that. I know him very well, I know his paintings. He didn’t start today, he has been painting all his life. He is very talented. He’s never painted me before, I was glad he did it. I’m sure it was a big work, it lasted more than a whole week. It was a great honor for me.
What about self-made gifts?
I’m not used to suprise my friends with things like this, but when my kids were younger, I made a lot things for them. Mostly for Halloween, costumes and things. I had been working on them for weeks . So much work and for why? So that the kid can wear it for 5 mins and that’s all. But I enjoyed it so much.
What was your top creation?
Once my daugter was a milk carton. That was my work. You could open it, my daughter was in, and on the outside there were all the necessary logos to seem the most perfect milk carton. I nearly had any money, but all the little I spent on it. And there was the big moment, she marched in it, then she took it off because the dancing had started. This was the short glory of the milk carton costume made by me.
Denmark’s most popular cake is named after the formerly most popular actress, Sarah Bernardt. The actors could be in high esteem at your country even if the cakes are named after them. Maybe once there will be a cake named after you.
Of course, the Danes are proud of their actors, as they are proud of their sportsmen or musicians. And with the same breath they could say something detractive about who have success in something. To put someone on a pedestal is an American thing. But back to the cakes: you made a lucky guess, the Sarah Bernardt cake is really one of my big favs.
Translated by Krisztina Besenyei (thank you very much!).