8 Best Roles Mads Mikkelsen Has Taken On (Besides Hannibal)

There's more to this Danish actor than just his portrayal of Hannibal.

While Mads Mikkelsen is best known for playing Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s Hannibal, he has also been in a variety of other roles over the years. Mikkelsen brought Thomas Harris’ character to the screen in a powerful way that rivaled Anthony Hopkins performance, which is no small feat. Mikkelsen clearly has some serious acting skills and is masterful in creating a nuanced performance just with the slightest changes of expression. While we will definitely always be praising his work on Hannibal, fans of Mikkelsen will want to check out some of his other work, too.

Here are the 8 best non-Hannibal roles that Mads Mikkelsen has been in.


Mads Mikkelsen brings a graphic novel character to life in this film. While Polar might be a little bit on the ridiculous or over-the-top side, Mikkelsen’s performance makes it worth the watch. The Black Kaiser just wants to live a calm life in Montana, but instead has to try to save himself from ruthless assassins. If you’re into seeing Mikkelsen use laser gloves to defeat enemies and run naked in the snow while shooting machine guns, you’re going to want to see this one. This might not be his most nuanced role, but it’s a fun ride and especially enjoyable if you like seeing Mads Mikkelsen shirtless.

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Charlie Countryman might not be the height of cinema, but Mikkelsen plays a charismatic bad guy that will make you swoon a little despite yourself. This film also stars Evan Rachel Wood and Shia LaBeouf. Mikkelsen plays Nigel, a dangerous and rather violent man. While Mikkelsen is by all accounts a very likable and kind man in real life, he sure does know how to play a villain. It must be something to do with his look; we hope he doesn’t stop taking on the bad guy roles here and there because he knows how to create a likable, horrifying villain.

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Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius in Doctor Strange

While Mikkelsen has been a well-known figure in Europe for a while now, he didn’t completely break into more of a mainstream audience in the United States until after Hannibal. With franchises like Marvel now under his belt, he’s definitely doing pretty well. Kaecilius is the main villain in Doctor Strange, and if you want to see Mikkelsen performing time-bending, reality-altering stunts and fights opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, his performance as Kaecilius is perfect for you.

In this film, Mikkelsen showed that he could hold his own alongside some very popular actors and actresses; he also gets a chance to play a super villain this time, which he’s very well-suited for.


Mikkelsen’s role as Le Chiffre was the first time U.S. audiences really learned of Mikkelsen and what he had to offer. This movie really kicked off what Mikkelsen fans have noticed—that he tends to take on a lot of roles where one of his eyes is damaged. Playing a truly sadistic banker, Le Chiffre dies in the end, but Mikkelsen’s performance showed new fans what he was capable of on camera. This movie also showed another trend of many of Mikkelsen’s roles, he is often capturing other people or being captured and tied up himself.

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The Hunt is a little different than many of the other roles on this list, but Mikkelsen brings a powerful, emotionally intense performance here that you won’t want to miss. The Hunt is a Danish film and earned Mikkelsen the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. In this film, Mikkelsen doesn’t play a villain but instead is a mild-mannered father and teacher who gets accused of sexually assaulting his students. It’s a heavy film, and it will show you Mikkelsen’s acting range and abilities that go way beyond just playing over-the-top serial killers and supervillains.

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Arctic is another film that was just recently released. Mikkelsen carries this entire film on his shoulders as he is the only actor in it who has any dialogue. Arctic tells the story of a man stranded in the arctic who ends up having to try and save a severely injured helicopter pilot. This role is a perfect showcase of Mikkelsen’s ability to show emotion and tell a story just by micro-expressions on his face. He doesn’t talk much in this film, and the movie is an intense survival story. Yet, somehow he manages to bring a performance that will have you on the edge of your seat.


This might not be Mikkelsen’s biggest or most significant role, but it sure is an awesome one. Mikkelsen played the accountant, also referred to as the "b**ch, in Rihanna's music video" for "B*tch Better Have My Money." Seeing Rihanna tie Mikkelsen up is a hilarious delight. Mikkelsen was the perfect fit for this role, and, to be honest, it would be great to see him in more music videos or funny situations like this. Clearly, Mikkelsen doesn’t mind roles where he has to be tied up, so this music video situation was right on theme for him.

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Galen Erso is a complex character. He’s not completely a villain or completely a hero. He might have helped create the Death Star, but he also was the person who made it possible to stop the weapon, in the end. The one thing he definitely is, however, is a caring father. This role allowed Mikkelsen to show more of his softer side, and it was also great to see him break into another large franchise. While, sadly, this is yet another movie where Mikkelsen plays a character who dies in the end, Galen Erso and the relationship between him and his daughter, Jyn, gave the movie a lot of heart and relatability.

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