Mads Mikkelsen – from gymnast to famous actor

Posted: Gabija Indreikaitė Date: 2018-07-02 02:38

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Mads Mikkelsen © Wikimedia Commons

Mads Mikkelsen is a well know Danish actor. He started his acting career with good guys’ roles, however, nowadays he is well known for playing villains, such as Hannibal Lecter. Even though M. Mikkelsen is acknowledged actor, at a young age he wanted to become a gymnast.

Mads Mikkelsen was born in 1965, in Copenhagen to a nurse and a banker. He trained as a gymnast and studied dancing at the Balettakaemien (ballet academy) in Gothenburg Sweden, where he became fluent in Swedish. For almost a decade he was known as a professional dancer and gymnast. However, he left it to study drama at the Århus Theatre School and started his acting career in 1996.

In the beginning of his spectacular acting career, he played a drug dealer Tonny in the first two films of the “Pusher” film trilogy. This film opened many doors for him as an actor. He appeared in many Danish films throughout the ‘90s, such as “Bleeder” and the series “Unit One”, where he played his longest role – an angry and sensitive policeman. In 2004 he transitioned into American cinema and played Tristan in “King Arthur”, in which he got his worldwide recognition. He also was in films such as “Valhalla Rising”, “Clash of the Titans”, “Wildside” and “Angel of the Night”.

In 2002 M. Mikkelsen starred in “Open hearts” where he played a young doctor, who is in love with his patient’s girlfriend. For this role he was awarded for the best actor in Rouen Nordic Film Festival. He was also nominated for both Bodil and Robert Festival awards for the best actor.

In 2004 the actor came back to playing Tonny in second film of “Pusher” trilogy (“With Blood on My Hands: Pusher 2”). In this film Tonny was released from a prison and decides to put his life together. However, it is much harder to do than to say. For this role M. Mikkelsen won Bodil Award for Best Actor, Robert Festival Award for Best Actor and Zulu Award for Best Actor.

Mads Mikkelsen 2Valhalla Rising (2009) 

Next well known role he played was Igor Stravinsky, a pianist, madly in love with designer Coco Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) in French producer’s Jan Kounen’s movie “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky”. Even though the appearance was truly brilliant, the actor did not receive any awards for this role.

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Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009) 

M. Mikkelsen starred in well-known Danish movies such as “Blinkende Lygter” (“Flickering Lights”), “De Grønne Slagtere” (“The Green Butchers”). Moreover, in 2012 he received Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor for playing Lucas in “The Hunt”. In this film he plays a man, who was wrongly accused of child molestation. Furthermore, this role won him the biggest amount of awards.

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Jagten/The Hunt (2012)

He has also starred in the Oscar-nominated historical drama “A Royal Affair”, in which he played 18th century physician Johann Friedrich Struensee who had an affair with Queen Caroline Mathilda. This movie was one of the highest budget Danish films and was very well received by critics.

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Adam’s Apples (2005)

The actor usually plays bad guys. One of the roles, where he played a good guy was in “Adam’s apples”, where he portrayed a very optimistic preacher Vicar Ivan. He tries to help those in need by offering them a variety of odd jobs around the church. Ivan is approached by Adam (Ulrich Thomsen) – a non-reformed neo-Nazi and wants to help him to become a better person. This role won the actor the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Award for Best Actor and he was nominated for Robert Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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De grønne slagtere (2003)

According to M. Mikkelsen, he takes his acting job very seriously. When he does something, it has to be done right. Also, he has said that he is not an ambitious actor, he is ambitious in everything he does. According to him, working with him is hard, there are no compromises.

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 Hannibal (2013–2015) 

Nowadays M. Mikkelsen is recognized for Hannibal Lecter’s role in TV series “Hannibal”. When asked, how he would describe Hannibal, the actor said that Hannibal loves good art, three-part costumes, classical music and everything that is tasteful, delicate, elegant, he hates everything that is banal and clichéd. The Hannibal M.Mikkelsen played is not a classic psychopath or a classic serial killer, this portrayal was done to perfection.Mads Mikkelsen 10

Doctor Strange (2016) 

M. Mikkelsen was also on very popular new movies such as “Rogues One: A Star Wars Story” and “Doctor Strange”. In this film he again appeared as a villain. In July, in his interview for “The Independent” the actor has said that the role for “Doctor Strange” was the hardest he has ever had. He revealed that he would easily agree for this kind of role, if he was 20, but he is 50, so every bruise he got on the set still hurts. However, he loved every second he spent making this movie.

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 The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (2013)

In 2010 he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Dannebro. In 2012 he was awarded the Danish American Society’s Person of the year. Moreover, in 2016 the French government appointed him a Knight as well.