Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Mads Mikkelsen

Go To
"There is a tendency to underestimate the power of what we can do without words. Sometimes you can make a scene even more powerful and precise without dialogue."

Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen (born 22 November 1965) is a Danish actor.

Quite popular back in his home country before he reached international stardom, having been voted Denmark's sexiest man multiple times. Before he became an actor, he was a trained gymnast and later a professional dancer, having done the latter for almost a decade. He turned to acting when he wanted to pursue the more dramatic side of expression. He is the younger brother of Lars Mikkelsen, who has similarly managed to carve out some international fame. He's not related to Danish-American Michael Madsen.

He made his film debut in Nicolas Winding Refn's directorial debut in the Danish crime drama Pusher, and later reprised his role in Pusher 2. His role as Cowboy Cop DI Alan Fischer on the Danish Cop Show, Rejseholdet, significantly raised his star in Denmark. His first Hollywood debut was as Tristan in King Arthur (2004), but internationally he's probably more well known for his role as the villain Le Chiffre from Casino Royale (2006), and his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the TV Show of the same name. Outside of Denmark, or rather in Hollywood, he also more well known for playing villainous or very anti-heroic characters, but in most of his other films he's played a variety of other characters, from cheerful, low-level gangsters to harrassed, mournful everymen. In November 2020, Warner Bros. announced that he had been cast to take over the role of Big Bad Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp for the Fantastic Beasts franchise starting with the third film.

Contrary to most English speakers' assumptions, Mads isn't pronounced "Madz", as the d in his name is silent. In interviews, he's clarified that the closest pronunciation is either "mess" or "mas" (as in "Thomas").


Tropes appearing on his works:

  • Alliterative Name: Mads Mikkelsen.
  • Carpet of Virility: Has a hairy upper body that has been put to show on several works.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Mostly for typecasting as a villain. Albeit even playing a sympathetic character in Rogue One didn't prevent him from dying!
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: His famous characters tend to be like this, resulting in a joke about his contract requiring some random eye tropes.
  • Eye Scream: He's played a few characters who get some form of damage to their eyes.
    • Le Chiffre from Casino Royale has scarring to one eye and weeps blood due to vessel damage.
    • His character in Valhalla Rising has only one eye and is known as "One-Eye" due to being unable or unwilling to communicate his real name.
    • Duncan from Polar wears an eye patch.
    • Kaecilius from Doctor Strange gets some nasty-looking markings around his eyes due to drawing power from the Dark One, consisting of cracked skin exposing purple flesh beneath. The same thing happens to his followers too.
  • Guttural Growler: Has a low, husky voice.
  • Omniglot: Beyond his native language of Danish, he can speak fluent Swedish, and at least some French.note  In an interview for Hannibal, Mikkelsen said he's not quite as fluent in English as he appears to be, and sometimes has to look up certain words from the scripts in a dictionary. Though this might have as much to do with the show's Purple Prose as anything else.
  • Production Posse: invoked With Nicolas Winding Refn and Anders Thomas Jensen.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As Le Chiffre and as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, but in real life he prefers to wear very comfortable and casual clothing.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: An unusual variant. He had no idea who Rihanna was before he was asked to appear in her "Bitch Better Have My Money" music video, so he asked his kids (who are a little older than the usual subjects of this trope), who cursed at him and yelled at him that he better accept the role or they would kill him.
  • Typecasting: While he’s a very versatile actor, if he’s in an English speaking and/or franchise role, he’s usually playing a villain.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Mikkelsen has high, prominent cheekbones that suit his villainous typecasting in English works.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Film critics and analytics has noted that Mikkelsen often retains a slight hint of a Danish accent in many of his roles, but also that this actually works immensely in his favor, as the Danish accent is relatively obscure and it lends an air of authenticity to many of his "villain of ambiguous, possibly European nationality" roles.