Mads Mikkelsen Cast in Bryan Fuller’s ‘Hannibal’ TV Series

Published 3 years ago by

mads mikkelsen hannibal Mads Mikkelsen Cast in Bryan Fullers Hannibal TV Series

It’s taken a while, but NBC and showrunner Bryan Fuller (the creator of Pushing Daisies) have finally settled on an actor to portray Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter, M.D., in their upcoming television series, Hannibal.

The man in question is Mads Mikkelsen, the Danish thespian who broke out onto the Hollywood scene with his turn as the villain (with a bleeding eye) in Casino Royale. Mikkelsen was also recently approached to play an antagonist in Thor 2; his being locked down for Hannibal suggests that might no longer be an option.

Mikkelsen will play Dr. Lecter opposite fellow King Arthur alum, Hugh Dancy, who will portray FBI profiler Will Graham on Fuller’s Hannibal. The Lecter/Graham duo originated in Thomas Harris’ 1981 novel “Red Dragon,” which was the basis for Michael Mann’s Manhunter – featuring Brian Cox and William Petersen as the pair – along with Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon, which saw Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton try their hands at bringing those respective characters to life (a third time, in Hopkins’ case).

When Fuller previously spoke to EW, he revealed that Hannibal begins prior to the events in Red Dragon. Moreover, the show starts off by portraying Lecter as “more of a peacock [with] a cheery disposition… He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming… We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”

That makes the selection of Mikkelsen as Dr. Lecter only partial type-casting, as the actor is better known for portraying characters whose external appearance very much reflect their dangerous nature – be it the eye-patch-wearing Count de Rochefort in The Three Musketeers or the Viking “One Eye” in Valhalla Rising. (Mikkelsen does seem to have a thing for playing villains with eye issues, doesn’t he? Moving on…)

Thor 2 Mads Mikkelsen in Valhalla Rising Mads Mikkelsen Cast in Bryan Fullers Hannibal TV Series

Mads Mikkelsen in 'Valhalla Rising'

David Slade (30 Days of Night, Eclipse) is locked to direct the pilot for Hannibal, which Fuller will serve as an executive producer on, alongside the owner of the screen rights to the Hannibal Lecter character, Martha De Laurentis, and such television vets as Jesse Alexander (Lost), Sara Colleton (Dexter) and Katie O’ Connell.

If all goes according to (Fuller’s) plan, then Mikkelsen will be playing Dr. Lecter on the small screen for the next seven years. Of course, that depends in no small part on how receptive viewers are to his take on the infamous, suave, serial killer. Also, NBC’s willingness to not cancel Hannibal prematurely, which is something many people have already voiced their doubt about (and with good reason).

For our money: Mikkelsen is a great actor, and his being cast as Dr. Lecter gives us reason to check out the pilot for Hannibal (regardless of what NBC does). That’s to say nothing of the additional personnel working behind-the-scenes on this show, which looks to borrow some of the best plot/character elements found in fan-fave series like Dexter and Sherlock. (Intriguing, for sure.)

We will let you know when Hannibal secures an official premiere date.


Source: EW

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  1. Big fan of Mads Mikkelsen. First saw him in Royale, and then his international work. He’s an excellent actor and hopefully NBC doesnt screw this up, cough cough. Heroes.

    • If they give Bryan Fuller the carte blanche he deserves, then it’ll go all right. Fuller never wrote a best Heroes episode – actually I think his were the best. It’s a shame they let him get away from that, the series tanked after that…

      I like Mikkelson but I’m not familiar with his work. Can he pull off the non-villainous Lecter charm? As in, Lecter when he’s not killing people.

      • Mikkelsen’s good in everything he does. He was the sneery weeping eye
        Bond bad guy in Casino Royale. Yes he can pull this off.

        • Yeah I saw Casino Royale, thought he was great so I’m not doubting his acting chops.

          But while Le Chiffre was a very obvious kind of villain, the description of this show seems to indicate Hannibal won’t be very traditionally villainous – i.e. not in an obvious way, so Mikkelson will also have to be able to play a convincing good guy. Just my perception.

          Has he done any roles with less of a bad guy slant and more of a good guy one? I’m not criticising him or anything, I just haven’t followed all his work – if he’s done anything like that I’d love to check it out.

          • The only movies I can come up with, where he ain’t a really bad guy are
            Som Danish movies. Not sure that will help u :)

          • Has he done anything else other than Villians? Oh,yes. In King Arthur,he was everyone’s favorite knight,Tristram.I say everyone’s,..because if you goto Youtube,you’ll see that he has a huge amount of videos of Tristram there,PLUS,a bunch,well,didnt want to use Huge again,but,there it is.A huge amount of snippets from his other movies.
            As to his body of work,this is a condensed bit of info for you.Check him out on IMDB(Internet Movie Data Base)for a full list of his accomplishments.Mostly,until Jerry Bruckheimer put him in King Arthur(2004),he’d been in Foreign Film genre,due to having not yet been discovered by Hollywood.However,he’s a well established actor in Europe,also having been voted the Sexiest Man in Denmark three times running. He has won 10 awards,and been nominated for 12 more films.He’s been in 43 movies,some of them about historical people,including the WWII Danish hero,Citron.The Villains have come due to his ability to transform himself easily into bad guys,but he is also great as good guys too.

        • No he can’t unfortunately… I loved the Hannibal movies and books. However they forget a huge piece of Hannibal when casting him in this tv role- SEDUCTION. He is not nearly as attractive, refined, alluring and seductive Anthony Hopkins was and it’s very unfortunate. As scary as he was, he also made every women want him, this actor very disappointing – the upside the lead actor Will although nervous, reclusive, insecure and unstable (retired cop now professor) at least provides something attractive for all us women out there expecting the seduction and eye candy not delivered by Hannibal.

      • No he can’t unfortunately… I loved the Hannibal movies and books. However they forget a huge piece of Hannibal when casting him in this tv role- SEDUCTION. He is not nearly as attractive, refined, alluring and seductive Anthony Hopkins was and it’s very unfortunate. As scary as he was, he also made every women want him, this actor very disappointing – the upside the lead actor Will although nervous, reclusive, insecure and unstable (retired cop now professor) at least provides something attractive for all us women out there expecting the seduction and eye candy not delivered by Hannibal.

        • I beg to differ. I find Mikkelson extremely seductive, much more so than I ever did with Hopkins.

          • I agree.

        • Are you kidding? Mads is beautiful!

  2. Go Mads. Play the good Dr. so well that NBC can’t cancel a winning hit

  3. Mads is one awesome actor. Seen most of his movies international and the Danish ones. + 1 from and this can really help him to bigger movie roles, if it’s a success

  4. Mads is one awesome actor. Seen most of his movies international and the Danish ones. + 1 from and this can really help him to bigger movie roles

  5. Mads is one awesome actor. Seen most of his movies international and the Danish ones. + 1 from me

  6. Hope he can still do Thor 2.

  7. I know I’m being stupid and stubborn but I refuse to accept Lecter as anyone other than A Hopkins.

  8. Kinda sucks this is going to NBC, they cancel everything, usually before the season is even over. Not sure if I even want to give it a watch, as cool as it looks, because I don’t want to get into it just to have it cancelled out from under me.

  9. If this was HBO it would be golden but since its NBC it’s going to be garbage. No shows from cable are worth watching because the writing is so sub par… such a shame…

    • I so agree — HBO or showtime would have done an awesome job at this… it’s going to go on cable, then NBC will cancel after one season, and then it’ll be forgotten about.

      I wasn’t so sure about doing a series on Hannibal’s life — thought it’d tarnish the movie series (and with Anthony Hopkins not playing Dr. Lecter, I thought it’ll be a disgrace)…. but now that I’m reading more about it, I’m getting more curious, so obviously I’ll watch. Hopefully (cross your fingers) it’ll exceed our expectations.

  10. An excellent actor. Doing an NBC series seems far beneath him, though.

  11. I had no interest in the show until now. Mads Mikkelson is an incredible actor who can achieve the lion hidden beneath the lamb exterior of the younger Hannibal Lecter. I agree about this show being golden if it were HBO or even Starz behind the wheel. NBC gives me pause.

  12. Totally agree with you, Jason. A series is waaaay beneath him!. And NBC?!

    Baffling, why he would be doing this. He’s Denmark’s, and one of Europe’s, biggest star, a cult figure with a vast and growing international fan base, so I’m guessing it can’t be for the money or exposure. He needs better representation, or something.

    Please, Mads, tear up the contract!:]

    • DON’T tear up the contract Mads!!! ‘Can’t be for the money or exposure.’

      And he should not make the money because….????

      Yeah he has an international fan base. What he does not have is household recognition in the U.S. What better way to get it by playing an iconic character like Lecter in a tv series for 13 weeks.

      Mikkelsen was very seldom recognized in his own country of Denmark even after several films. Played a cop in a television series several seasons.
      “Badda Bing” “Badda Boom” Instantaneous visibility.

      Mads Mikkelsen could be angling for a leading man part in a movie here.
      So…. This man is not stupid. And neither is his reperesentation.

  13. What a load of nonsense!

    We know the history of this character from his childhood to Adult incarnation. We know what made him the person he is and everything else about him.They even made two movies based on the same material just in case we did not understand what we were looking at in the first movie!
    (Man hunter/Red Dragon)

    Now in an attempt to squeeze more dollars out of the lecter orange we are going to have the Lecter story before his attempt to disembowel Graham in his study!

    Who needs it? Nobody!

    Move on people!

    • Yes, but we don’t know how his practicing life was… what his life was like behind the Doctor mask…. we saw everything from Graham’s POV… now it’s time to see what life is like for the Dr. throughout his professional career… before he became known as the cannibal.

  14. Exactly!

    Mads is too brilliant, accomplished, and prestigious an actor, to be doing network TV about some character that has already been dissected and ‘overexposed’.

    Then again, on the other hand, Mads is magic, a chameleon, and since it’s a done deal, they couldn’t have picked a better actor to distract from an outcome already known, and to add depth to a character we think we already know.

    Viewers won’t be disappointed in him, IMO. I’ve seen all his movies starting with the The Pusher Trilogy, and I have yet to be disappointed. Without a doubt, my favorite actor !

  15. Mads Mikkelsen is a truly gifted actor. He’s played all kinds of characters from good to bad to everything in between in many of the international/Danish movies. It’s pretty sad most people only know his as the Bond Villain as his other movies are wayyyyyyyy better examples of his acting.

    That said, I’m not sure what to think of this Hannibal series but I’ll watch Mads in anything.

    • Totally agree with the last comment, I’ll watch him in anything. Hopefully people will bother to go back and see other (international) films he’s made because he’s done so much.

  16. I’m just unsure about them changing some of the characters into women because it means there are possible love interests = lots of sex. I really hope the show focuses more of the thrill of the cat and mouse than who’s the next girl Graham/Lecter is going sleep with. (which btw would totally ruin the character integrity, imo.)

    • The emotional mind games would be diffused greatly by sex scenes for the Graham/Dancy & Lecter/Mikkelsen characters. Dancy needs to keep on his pantsy. Plenty of movies for Mikkelsens fan base with his naked butt bobbing about. No need for it here.

      • It’s regular tv. Won’t show Mads Mikkelsen ‘butt bobbing about.’ DARN! lol

        You wanna see and hear what Dr. Hannibal Lecter would be like. Go to youtube.

        Type in Mads Mikkelsen SEX scene in Michael K.

        Much better viewing than Mads Mikkelsen in swim trunks.

    • Bryan Fuller made a big deal about Mads Mikkelsen only wearing a pair of skimpy swimming trunks for filming. He posted a photo of them on twitter. I’m sure he did this to use Mikkelsen’s sex symbol status for ratings and to get the female fans [ fannibals ] all revved up for next season. This is Hollywood. Mikkelsen is known for his extremely visually detailed sex acts in film. He has said he is willing to do almost anything on screen. So there will be sheet action. Usually it’s always the woman being sexually used for exploitative reasons. It’s about time a man was utilized only for sexual purposes. Fuller is no dummy. This will get him more viewers and revenue to continue the show. Why not capitalize on Mads Mikkelsen ability to build a bigger female fan base?

    • Omg freaking out that there “might” be a sex scene?

  17. I LOVE the new tv series Hannibal, and am obsessed. However the ONLY thing I found completely disappointing within the tv series is, that unlike the Hannibal movie which stared Anthony Hopkins the lead actor of the tv show does not have the same allure and overall sex appeal that one came to expect from Hannibal. Hannibal although a psychopath is incredibly charming, alluring, and seductive- all qualities the new supporting actor (that plays Hannibal) just doesn’t posses, honestly I’m quiet disappointed. The leading man and primary focus of the show although does provide someone vulnerable, intelligent, reclusive, and fragile and at least is incredibly likable, and will obviously pull in audiences and will retain a strong fallowing of those that would otherwise be lost due to the actor playing the part of Hannibal, and some great eye candy too. 

    • Omg lol are you serious. Many many fans are totally enamoured with Mads playing Hannibal and Hugh Dancy as Will. Just google it and you will see. I thought he was icky when I watched season one but some time into season 2 I realised that holly f I am totally into this man. I cannot stop thinking about him

  18. I’m from Denmark and Mads Mikkelsen is really a big star here,big time star. So much i got tried of him because he was in every god-damn movie. But now in “Hannibal” i’m starting to love him again. I think he is doing it very well.
    I am a big Fan of the movies and A.Hopkins is a will always be the one real Hannibal, but Mikkelsen is Doing a wonderful job being him.
    I will agree that he is missing that sensuel-feeling-thing A. Hopkins had so every woman would fall for him. But still great job. I was very skeptical in the start of the first episode but it did not take long, before i was swepted a way.
    I hope it will keep running for a very long time… and i hope Mads get better at English then now. I dont always get what he says. Like he is mumbleing and talking to fast. Have no problems with the other actors.

    Hope for the best for this tv-show and i’m proud Dane!!! :D

    • Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic as Hannibal before jail. Glad to hear a native Dane mention his speaking. No problem at all on my end with his accent. The mumbling. He talks so fast, background music blaring. Sound editors take note.

    • omg. A Danish person thinks the same. The man talks His mumbling needs to stop. Hire a speech coach for Dr. Lecter in the 2nd season.

  19. Sorbet is the best of the Hannibal episodes and series. I cannot wait for more!! Bon appetit

  20. Honestly,this started off by far my favorite TV series as of yet. But they really should have wrapped things up within one season because it immediately turned ridiculous after Will was released from prison. I mean seriously… the phsyciatrist always at the crime scenes, always involved while suspects being questioned, everybody always at his home for dinner, personally involved in their lives, at the hospital with suspects and also FBI wives. Omg. WAY over doing it! And to top it off, Will then proceeded to continue therapy with Hannibal upon his release and the FBI he’s so close to doesn’t say a thing about it!

    • Well said and what you said Teri. And now for a spoiler alert. The bloodbath in the last episode. Everybody lives. Nobody dies. How Hollywoodesque is that? This show started getting really silly with Dr. Hannibal Lecter preening and staring at his own a** in the mirror. The show’s ‘Magic Mike’ moment if you will.