Ever since his breakout role as teary-eyed Bond adversary Le Chiffre opposite Daniel Craig in his 007 debut Casino Royale, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has steadily built a foundation as a reputable performer in Hollywood. Following up the Casino Royale with more supporting roles in such hits as Clash of the Titans in 2010 and The Three Musketeers in 2011, and a Best Actor win at Cannes in the 2012 Danish indie The Hunt, Mikkelsen started to hit stride in 2013 as the titular character in the NBC crime drama Hannibal, which followed the early days of Dr. Hannibal Lecter for three seasons.
Despite Hannibal meeting its demise in 2015, two transformative opportunities awaited Mikkelsen in 2016 – with a lead turn as the villain Kaecilius opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, and the pivotal supporting role of Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. However, it turns out Mikkelsen had an opportunity to work on a Marvel superhero movie before he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Even though Mikkelsen has developed the stature of a leading man, the actor tells The Shortlist in a new interview that landing roles in Hollywood has not been an automatic:
“I have auditions. I auditioned for the Hannibal TV show.”
Perhaps what more surprising, though, is that Mikkelsen says he walked out of an opportunity to do a Fantastic Four movie before his chance to do Doctor Strange:
I think I walked out on the Fantastic Four one. I think I actually said, “I can’t do it. It’s not about you, I’m sorry, this is wrong.”
While Mikkelsen didn’t elaborate why he walked out of the audition or which version of Fantastic Four he bolted from (the 2004 or 2015 version), he said in an interview with Ireland’s TV 3 in January that it was indeed for director Josh Trank’s 2015 reboot that went on to star Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell. Apparently auditioning for the role of the elastic Dr. Reed Richards, which eventually went to Teller, the outlet says that breaking point came when an embarrassed Mikkelsen was asked to “extend his arms like a rubber man.”
Even though that role was too much stretch for Mikkelsen, so to speak, it’s pretty safe to say Doctor Strange and Rogue One has created a great amount of flexibility to Mikkelsen. He says he’s even up for the return of Hannibal in the future, given the opportunities streaming outlets like Netflix and Hulu have provided in bringing cancelled series back from the dead. In the meantime, Mikkelsen appears to be taking a break as he currently has no major projects in the works. When he does, it seems pretty certain that he’ll be choosing – not auditioning for – the roles he wants to play. Presumably, none of those roles will have anything to do with rubber.