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Mads Mikkelsen responds to being cast as a villain in so many big franchises

Gregory Robinson

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Mads Mikkelsen responds to being cast as a villain in so many big franchises

Featured Image Credit: MGM/Disney

Mads Mikkelsen has managed to become one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars when it comes to villain roles.

The Danish actor, 57, has a career spanning over 25 years but many of his most recognisable reinventions have been in the form of sinister characters, from Hannibal Lecter to the 'B*tch' in Rihanna's 'B*tch Better Have My Money' music video.

He most recently starred in the hotly anticipated fifth Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as the main baddie. Mikkelsen portrayed a terrifying Nazi officer named Jürgen Voller, who goes up against Indy.

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During an interview with UNILAD ahead of the premiere of of the new Indiana Jones film, Mikkelsen weighed in on playing so many villains.

"It was an honour. I grew up with these films - I loved Indiana Jones and to be part of that family is amazing," he said.

“I’ve done romcoms back home, I’ve done a few different things, I’ve done a few different things like you can imagine back home in Denmark. The villainous thing is an American project apparently! So, I don’t miss playing the other things, I get the chance back home.”

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Keep reading to see some of Mikkelsen's greatest villain roles.

Kaecilius in Doctor Strange (2016)

Kaecilius in Doctor Strange. Credit: Marvel
Kaecilius in Doctor Strange. Credit: Marvel

The actor was cast as Kaecilius in the first Doctor Strange movie in 2016 for which he underwent a big physical transformation for the role. While many of his villains wear suave suits, Kaecilius - a Master of the Mystic Arts - gave audiences the chance to see him in a totally different light. Kaecilius formed the Zealots with the intention of defeating the Ancient One but was challenged by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.

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Kaecilius was ultimately defeated and became part of the Dark Dimension. We loved seeing Mikkelsen in the MCU.

Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006)

Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Credit: MGM/Sony Pictures Releasing
Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Credit: MGM/Sony Pictures Releasing

Widely considered one of the best Daniel Craig-era Bond films, Mikkelsen played opposite Craig as the Le Chiffre.

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In the 2006 film, Mikkelsen portrays a banker, mathematical expert and genius chess player who works with many of the world’s most sinister criminals and terrorists. He’s also a keen poker player. Mikkelsen completely changed viewers’ expectations for a modern Bond villain.

While Le Chiffre appeared to be quite dapper, which is a common thread among Mikkelsen’s villains, he has a menacing, torturous streak.

Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal (2013-2015)

Mads Mikkelsen wants to play Hannibal Lecter again. Credit: NBC
Mads Mikkelsen wants to play Hannibal Lecter again. Credit: NBC
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It’s always difficult following in another actor’s footsteps, especially when that actor is Anthony Hopkins and the film is Academy Award-winning psychological horror The Silence of the Lambs. However, that didn’t stop Mikkelsen from putting his own, deliciously-twisted spin on the character for the TV spin-off Hannibal.

Developed by Bryan Fuller, the series also starred Hugh Dancy as criminal profiler Will Graham, who is recruited by the FBI to investigate serial killers in Minnesota.

Because the cases begin to take a toll on him, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter is hired to supervise Will, which leads to draining relationship developing between them.

Although the show was cancelled after three short seasons, Mikkelsen is totally up for a revival.

Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Credit: Warner Bros.
Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Credit: Warner Bros.

It’s impossible to forget Mikkelsen’s stint as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts universe almost didn’t happen. The actor replaced Johnny Depp in the role after Depp stepped away at the request of studio Warner Bros. amid a legal battle with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Depp had lost a libel case against The Sun over a 2018 article that called him a ‘wife beater’.

The Mikkelsen-remixed version of Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore shows a hugely different character, with the white hair and pale eye nowhere to be seen.

Critics praised Mikkelsen for his ’suave’, ‘charming’ and ‘charismatic’ version of the infamous wizard known for causing mass terror and chaos the world over.

Dr. Voller in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

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Mikkelsen's latest villain role comes in the form of an unhinged Nazi who is willing to go to the ends of the Earth (quite literally) to find a device to change the course of history and the outcome of World War II.

Now working as a physicist in the U.S. space program, Jürgen Voller fought Indiana Jones on top of a moving train during World War II in pursuit of the Archimedes' Dial, which can locate time fissures. Mikkelsen is spectacular once again as the Indy's arch nemesis.

Dr. Volley in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Dr. Volley in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

He's always outstanding as the antagonist and the final Indiana Jones film is no exception, with his character's restrained and composed demeanor slowly unravelling.

“Indiana Jones needs a Nazi to punch, right?! This is like one of the few places luckily these days where we need Nazis is in an Indiana Jones film," Mikkelsen told UNILAD:

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Celebrity, Entertainment

Gregory Robinson
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