MADS MIKKELSEN

Maxim - - CONTENTS - by SARAH HORNE GROSE

THE MAG­NIF­I­CENTLY SIN­IS­TER STAR OF HAN­NI­BAL BIDES HIS TIME

IF ANY­ONE COULD SCARE the crap out of James Bond, it’s Mads Mikkelsen, the Dan­ish ac­tor whose sculp­tural, oth­er­worldly vis­age has made him one of Hol­ly­wood’s fa­vorite so­ciopaths. Play­ing Le Chiffre, the fear­some Al­ba­nian crime boss in Casino Royale, he shed tears of blood over a poker ta­ble and re­vealed a pro­fi­ciency for bleak, ball-smash­ing tor­ture meth­ods. As the ti­tle char­ac­ter in Han­ni­bal (NBC), the 49-year-old ac­tor is even more pow­er­fully creepy—a dis­crim­i­nat­ing life­style con­nois­seur, su­perbly at­tired and coiled like a snake. IN REAL LIFE, Mikkelsen says he’s ac­tu­ally a low-key sort of guy. While he en­joys don­ning a tuxedo for red-car­pet events, it’s a rare ex­cep­tion. “We men try to be ex­tremely ca­sual, don’t we?” he says with a laugh. “We never want to ad­mit to hav­ing van­ity of any sort.” And whereas “Han­ni­bal en­joys the finer things in life,” he notes, “I am prob­a­bly just a con­sumer of stuff, with­out putting that much thought into it. I eat, I work out, I do things. I am not cal­cu­lat­ing in the least.” PER­HAPS NOT, but Mikkelsen is an artist at heart. The for­mer gym­nast and dancer spent a decade per­form­ing on­stage in pro­duc­tions like La Cage aux Folles and Chicago, hon­ing a for­mi­da­ble phys­i­cal­ity be­fore turn­ing his tal­ents to act­ing. In Den­mark, he rose to fame as a junkie in Ni­co­las Wind­ing Refn’s ul­tra­vi­o­lent cult flick Pusher, and later turned in an un­for­get­table per­for­mance as One Eye, a mute war­rior who dis­em­bow­els men alive, in the direc­tor’s bru­tal Vik­ing epic Val­halla Ris­ing. BRYAN FULLER, Han­ni­bal’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, knew in­stantly when he’d found his cere­bral, snap­pily dressed se­rial killer. “Mads is very unas­sum­ing, but he has a true rock-star pres­ence,” Fuller says. “There’s some­thing uniquely alien and at­trac­tive about him. Peo­ple have said to me, ‘Mads is so un­usual on-screen.’ I tell them, ‘You haven’t seen the half of it.’” MIKKELSEN AP­PROACHES THE ROLE not as a vil­lain but as an or­di­nary man, al­beit one with his own pe­cu­liar mind-set: “I sim­ply look at him as a per­son who sees life dif­fer­ently.” ■

MADS MIKKELSEN HAS MADE A CA­REER OUT OF PLAY­ING MAD­MEN AND PSY­CHO KILLERS. BUT HE’S NOT NEARLY AS TIGHTLY WOUND AS HE SEEMS.

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