Big Talk: Mads Mikkelsen


IFFR 2021

With lead roles in films including Adam’s Apples (Anders Thomas Jensen, 2005), Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2009) and Jagten (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012), Mads Mikkelsen is one of the most high-profile faces in the successful Danish cinema. Mikkelsen has also acted up a storm further afield: audiences recognise him from blockbusters such as Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and of course the Bond film Casino Royale, in which he played villain Le Chiffre.

Mikkelsen, born in Copenhagen in 1965, discovered his acting talent late. He was a professional dancer for 10 years before he decided to go to drama school. His feature debut was also his breakthrough: Mikkelsen made an indelible impression as shaven-headed drugs dealer Tonny in Winding Refn’s box-office hit Pusher (1996). Eight years later, Mikkelsen reprised the role in Pusher II, but in the meantime had proven his versatility – as well as his love of striking hairstyles, in which respect his roles in the films of Anders Thomas Jensen stand out.

Jensen, director of IFFR’s opening film Riders of Justice, is more aware than most of how to make best use of Mikkelsen’s comic talents. The two Danes have now worked together five times – more if we count Jensen’s work as a screenwriter. To what extent do they inspire one another? How does working on a Danish film compare to a Hollywood production? And what underlies Mikkelsen’s choice of roles? These and other questions will be covered in this Big Talk with the big-name Danish actor. The conversation will be moderated by film producer Rosa Bosch.