Mads Mikkelsen can play nice, but he's also played both a Bond villain (in “Casino Royale”) and Hannibal Lecter. In “Doctor Strange,” the Danish performer predictably winds up on the evil side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s Kaecilius, a devious sorcerer who winds up facing down Benedict Cumberbatch’s neurosurgeon-turned-heroic-magician. But his plan almost sounds tantalizing: He wants to defy the ageless leader known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and create a new society where humans live forever. The only problem: that involves killing most of the world.
Mikkelsen, 50, talks to us about death, mortality and how we don’t know if there’s an afterlife.
Ignoring, of course, that it involves global genocide, Kaecilius’ plan is attractive: He wants to find a way to cheat death.
[Laughs] It’s very attractive. It makes sense. He has a point. Who would say no to what he’s offering?
Even though living forever is attractive, I’m not sure I wouldn’t waste immortality, just as I'm sure we all waste our own lives.
That’s always the thing: We define life within a certain time frame. For that reason, it gives it certain qualities. If we don’t have that time frame anymore, we have to give it a different quality. Is that worth it?We won’t know until we get there.
What do you think you’d do if you lived forever?
I think I would do more of the same, because it’s incredibly fun to do what I’m doing. [Laughs] To life your life and then have another ride on the carousel, then having another ride on the carousel — it doesn’t sound crazy to me.
You kind of get to do that: As an actor, you get to repeatedly inhabit other people’s lives.
That’s true. We get the chance to step in other people’s shoes. We play a little piano, we speak a little French, we ride some horses. But we never get to fully master any of it. We get to visit other worlds. That’s another fantastic part of this job.