Mads Mikkelsen looks evil in the face in ‘The Hunt’ and ‘Hannibal’

'Michael Kohlhaas' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival Day 10
Mads Mikkelsen won Best Actor at Cannes for the Danish drama “The Hunt.”
Credit: Getty Images

Mads Mikkelsen just wrapped up the first season as the latest incarnation of Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s “Hannibal,” where he heroically avoids the mannerisms of Anthony Hopkins — and, for that matter, Brian Cox, who embodied him in the 1985 film “Manhunter.”

Mikkelsen isn’t the first Scandinavian import, nor all that new: He’s already known for playing the sinister, bleeding-teared villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale.” He still manages to do work back home in Denmark, as he did with the drama “The Hunt,” in which he plays a man falsely accused of exposing himself to the young daughter of his best friend — a performance that netted him Best Actor at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

It’s important that the film clearly establishes that your character is not guilty.

That was our point from the beginning. Thomas [Vinterberg] and his cowriter Tobias [Lindholm] did not want to turn this into a thriller. That would have been too banal. We wanted to see the snowball effect and showing both sides, so we could make a classical drama rather than have the audience sitting on the edge, thinking, “Oh, did he do it?” We wanted to tell a story about how enormous love could turn into enormous fear and then into hate.

What were the difficulties of playing a character who can’t really react?

My character is at a difficult place where I can’t place my anger anywhere. I can’t blame the girl, I can’t blame the best friend, I can’t blame the woman who works at the school. There’s no one I can blame. You’re running into closed doors everywhere. If you scream too loud, you’re guilty. If you do nothing, you’re guilty. If you’re in the middle of the road, you‘re guilty. That’s the Kafkaesque universe of the story.

He does have a bit of a dark side. He gets indignant when accused.

Of course. He’s getting insulted. If my wife would ask me if I did something like this, I wouldn’t take that easily. I would probably do the same, and say get the f— out. In some ways he has a masculine way of dealing with this, and in some ways he does not. He treats this subject in a civilized manner. He believes the system will take care of this. And the system fails. He’s fighting against the emotions of irrational people. The one place where he mans up in the supermarket (where he gets into a fight), that’s the one time the audience goes, “Yeah, man, that’s cool!” But it’s interesting that we react like that, because he’s doing it in the uncivilized manner. It’s like we want him to be uncivilized.

For many people, even those proven to have been falsely accused, these accusations never really go away.

If he was accused of robbing a bank, he’d get a shoulder pat. “Hey, I thought for a second you robbed that bank!” But a bank is not as important as a kid. We’re so afraid today when something involves kids. It’s a little pathetic.

It’s the same thing with the war on terror. We turn our democracy into something where we’re afraid of living our free life because we’re fighting terror. And that’s exactly what it shouldn’t be. We restrict our lives.

On playing Hannibal Lecter:

It’s a different species. Hannibal is not a person. He’s basically Satan. He’s probably one of the (most) cheerful and happy characters I’ve ever played. I never carry a load back home. He’s just enjoying life. Even if he would go to jail one day, he would see that as a beautiful opportunity for a new and fresh start, to see what happens.

But we get to see him outside, and with people. I have to be a certain degree friendly and reliable around them. If that wasn’t the case, they’d point their fingers and say, “He’s the killer.” I’m already in deep s—. I have a three-piece suit. I’m an art collector. I have a funny accent. So I’m probably the killer. But we have to take it to a degree where the cops don’t look like idiots.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.