Mads Mikkelsen: the fantastic beast of Danish cinema

Mads Mikkelsen has for years been alternating between Danish film gems and major international productions. The Cannes Festival awarded his leading role in the paedophilia drama Jagten. James Bond fans saw him cry blood in Casino Royale and binge-watchers loved his erudite cannibal in the Hannibal series. As he has just excelled in two Danish blockbusters, Thomas Vinterberg’s haunting Druk and Anders Thomas Jensen’s sardonic Riders of Justice, we know what is to come: Hollywood stuff.

The Dane trained in dance is acting in Indiana Jones 5 and is replacing Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. “I enjoy being part of these Hollywood productions. I grew up with that. No matter how good the Danish film industry is at the moment, we will never have the means for those big spectacles. Secondly, Denmark is a small country. If I shoot one film there a year, even that would be too much. ‘We don’t want to see that Mikkelsen’s face again,’ they would say. I can complain about that as much as I want, that’s what we are like. That is why I am happy for the opportunity to go to Hollywood or abroad on a regular basis. Then, when I return with pleasure, everyone is happy to see my mug again. It works perfectly for me.”

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third episode in a Harry Potter spin-off centred around Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). The openness of this wizard with a great interest in (strange) creatures contrasts with the fascist ideology of Gellert Grindelwald.

In the first two films, Johnny Depp played the creep. Film giant Warner thought it wise to replace him with Mads Mikkelsen. “I have always been a fan of Depp. I thought it wise not to copy him. That would be creative suicide. Fortunately, everyone agreed with me that we should do our own thing.”

Release: 6/4

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