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INT: Mads Mikkelsen

Over the past few months much has been made over the new James Bond film CASINO ROYALE coming out in November. Many seem to question the casting of Daniel Craig as the next Bond, I for one am looking forward to a really strong actor to take on the role. But one casting decision that nobody will question is Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, Bond’s nemesis. Originating from Denmark , he has made an impressive career with films like PUSHER and its sequels, WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF and THE GREEN BUTCHERS.

I had a chance to talk one-on-one with Mr. Mikkelsen and found him to be not only a really nice guy but also very intelligent. He had much to say about his early work and what it was like being a Bond villain and how we both were freaked out by Jaws in MOONRAKER. I look forward to seeing him put up one helluva fight for Mr. Bond, and if anyone can stir up trouble, it will be him.

Mads Mikkelsen

How is it different doing something like Casino Royale as opposed to what you’ve done with Pusher and all that?

The scale, the [amount] of people on set is a tremendous difference. Five hundred people on a Bond film and then maybe thirty on a Danish film. So being bad at names, which I am, it was kind of nightmare. But besides that, it’s the same focus, you focus, you try to be disciplined, you focus on the work and… for an actor it’s not that different.

Did you have a good time with the other cast members on [Casino Royale]?

Well, I mean definitely, when we started out we were doing the big poker game and that took for like, three or four weeks to shoot that. And there was like ten poker players at this table and every time there was a break we were playing poker seriously, and we went back to the table and played poker again. We would hang out in the night as well and Michael Wilson was there playing with us. We had a great time.

With a film like Pusher and its sequel, what do you enjoy more, doing a character like that or something a little bigger like Casino Royale or King Arthur?

The good thing about that is I don’t have to choose, I don’t have to compare them because they’re incomparable; they’re two different kinds of films. There will be like one-hundred kinds of different films you could make. I don’t have to compare them, I like them both – I would love to do both, I’d like to do a black comedy, I’d love to do a commercial, I’d like to do a musical. So I don’t compare things and I like it when I work and that’s it.

You’re doing all this press for [Casino Royale], is the press as big of a deal when doing a Danish film?

Back home… I would be one of the five people back home that is supposed to carry a film so the press would be pretty heavy as well but nothing this size of course. I am not carrying this film, Daniel [Craig] is… imagine how much press he’s doing.

Yeah.

But no, of course it’s bigger, the budget is bigger, the amount of people that is going to watch this film is hopefully [Laughing] very much bigger. So this is what comes with it and I find it kind of easy, I like it.

Have you seen the completed film yet?

No, not yet. I haven’t even seen the trailer and that’s my own fault because I can’t – I’m not good with the internet thing, you know. I will see it one of these days.

Well, I’ve got to say, I watched the trailer last night when I found out I was going to talk to you and, dude, you look pretty cool in this movie.

Oh good. [Laughter]

Is it fun to play the “bad guy”?

Yeah, of course it’s fun. Its fun, I mean it’s been a tradition of bad guys… everyone wants to play the bad guy and I’m not an exception. There’s something great about the bad guy, we tend to be drawn to the bad guys. And this is hopefully not an exception.

Are you a fan of the James Bond movies?

Oh, definitely. Like everybody else, I mean, I’m not a freak, I’m not an expert but I’ve been watching them since I was a kid so that’s part of my growing up.

Who is your favorite Bond villain?

My favorite villain must be the Jaws guy, mostly because he scared the shit out of me. And those are the films I remember best.

Yeah, I remember him, he scared me too. So what’s next for you after this?

Hopefully a small break; get back and rebuild the house and see how big the kids are, stuff like that. And then a couple of Danish projects which are still waiting for a “go” on.

Is it hard for you to be away from your family so often?

Yeah, normally when you do a Danish film you shoot for a couple of months and that’s about it and that will be in the area where you live kind of. So, yeah it’s tough but they come with me sometimes and I come home on the weekends whenever I can, so we get by but it is different here. I mean, it’s nice for a couple of days to be with yourself but then you start missing people and that’s the way it is. Then you realize how important they are and that’s good as well.

Back home are people going crazy over this film [Casino Royale]?

I don’t know because I haven’t been home. Not that much though. I think it’s kind of interesting you know. When something good happens for a Dane – a fellow Dane that will hopefully [go that way] for another Dane. And it’s such a small country, we tend to be proud of what happens to our fellow Danes… we’ll wait and see.

How do you like it here in Los Angeles ?

I like it, I’ve been here before [a few] times. It’s an acquired taste as people say. You gotta get yourself a car, you gotta find yourself the way around here but once you get there it starts growing on you. It’s not the easiest place to go, it’s easier to go into New York , it’s like this is New York , this is like, oh, where’s the center. But it’s great, I’m getting there.

I wanted to ask you a little about Pusher; that was the one that got you into the public eye a little bit, right?

Yeah, I did that film when I was in drama school on my last year and for some reason we’re not allowed to work, even in the vacations when we do drama school but I did it anyway so I got kicked out… and uh, they took me back again so...

So what made you go back for Pusher 2?

It’s a rare opportunity to go back and work with a character ten years later to see what happened to him. And we knew that right away when we did the first film that there was a lot of characters in the first film that we might want to stop with later on, so he (Nicolas Winding Refn) waited and waited and he just called me and - now’s the time, I got the story [from] him and we worked on that for some months and then we shot it.

What kind of preparation did you do for that?

A lot of script preparation because we wanted to nail the story, we wanted to figure out what this character was. And in the first couple versions of the script he (his character Tonny) was running the scenes, he was the engine of the scenes and the key for that was, I think it was like a week before shooting but we liked the script but we didn’t like that he was the engine. So we turned that whole thing around and he was made into like, a supporting actor in every scene which he was in the first film. So when we made that slight change it just fell into a positive fit.

I actually haven’t seen the sequel yet?

Oh, you should see all three of them.

I will. Are there any other roles that you’d want to go back to like that?

Ah, not necessarily, when a film was done that was it. There might be one – I did a black comedy called The Green Butchers, I was a very, very annoying character that I played with an enormously big forehead, sweating all the time and lying the whole film and it was so funny playing him. I’d like to go back and do something with him if I had the chance.

How much of your work do your kids see?

Ah, not a lot. I mean, a lot of the stuff I’ve done, it has been, uh… [Laughing] what do you call it… X…

X-Rated?

Yeah, it’s… some of the stuff has been really tough stuff and so they can’t see. But they’ve seen some of the TV I’ve done and some of the comedy.

Well, there’s a certain freedom in Denmark to kind of push the envelope which I think Americans do not tend to do.

Yeah, on a certain level I mean you’re making films for an enormous budget you have to make sure people want to see it. And to be honest with you the Pusher films are good, good films and they do cross the border sometimes, they do scare people away. It’s not an enormous crowd that’s watching, it’s a strong crowd but if you want to make some other kind of money with a big budget you have to pull back a little.

Do you think about box office or do you just try to forget about it?

Oh, if I do a film like Pusher I look at the box office in terms of what we expect, and we hope it makes that, of course, then we’re all happy and I will be happy as well, we achieved our goals. And I will definitely look at that on this film as well because what’s anticipated on this film is also what I anticipate; I mean that’s why we do this.

You spent eight years as a dancer?

Yeah, eight or nine years.

How old were you when you started dancing?

Um, I must have been eighteen or something.

You started a little bit late didn’t you?

Yeah, I started late but I was [based] as a gymnast so it [grew up] from the gymnast part of me, like I was good at jumping and turning and spins and all that kind of stuff but I had to pick up the basics as well as dancing, I’m not sure I ever got that but I was good at jumping [laughing].

Does that help you with the action films?

Yeah it… definitely, I do get injured because I do it a little more wild than I’m supposed to but I’ve done a couple of things that I’m pretty proud of as a stunt guy as well.

Thank you Mads, it was really nice talking to you.

It was nice talking to you.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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