Over the next six weeks, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen won’t be seen in just one monstrous project but two. He’s playing the chief villain Kaecilius in the latest big-budget production from Marvel Studios, “Doctor Strange.” If being in a comic book movie wasn’t enough, Mikkelsen stars in the next movie in the Star Wars universe, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” set to open in December.
“When I became an actor, I never dreamed I would be working in America. I was just a Danish actor,” Mikkelsen says. “Now I’m in ‘Star Wars’ and a Marvel film. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense. It’s surreal when you step back and look at it.”
His role as Kaecilius has Mikkelsen using supernatural powers to fight Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Galen Erso, his role in “Rogue One,” is a brilliant scientist and the father of “Rogue One’s” chief protagonist, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones).
The key to playing such big roles is to take each part equally serious, Mikkelsen says. The script can call for some humor – such as an exchange Kaecilius has with Doctor Strange – but he will never play the scene with a wink to the audience.
“I find the wink to be dangerous. Humor can be internal but once you do the wink, you step out of the film and are sitting with the audience. We should never break the illusion,” Mikkelsen says.
Along with these latest roles, Mikkelsen has starred as Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the TV series “Hannibal,” and as James Bond’s chief nemesis in “Casion Royale.”
He says he plans to keep doing what he’s done since his first professional acting job 20 years ago: Ttake the next interesting role that comes along.
“That’s the only way you can approach something like this. I have tried not to be too ambitious with my career,” Mikkelsen says. “But, I’m very ambitious when it comes to my work. When it comes to the next job, I am very ambitious. If I start thinking I want to do this and this, then everything just becomes stepping stones to a goal I will probably never reach. I would rather make the stones very important and then it will all become important.”