Birthdate: November 22, 1965
Birthplace: Østerbro, Copenhagen, Denmark
Certainly among the most successful European movie stars of his generation, Mads Mikkelsen can claim that his acting trademark is his extraordinary versatility across the entire bandwidth of genres. Consider that this is an artist who has served on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, won Telluride Film Festival’s Silver Medallion Award, and has also been nominated twice for Fangoria magazine’s Chainsaw Awards. It could be argued that few recent actors have managed to tackle the extensive types and brands of movies that Mikkelsen has managed on both sides of the Atlantic.
He has excelled in fantasy (King Arthur (2004), Clash of the Titans (2010), the Harry Potter spinoff franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022); crime fiction (Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher (1996), and Pusher II (2004), and Anders Thomas Jensen’s Flickering Lights (2000)); romance (Open Hearts (2002)); literary period (The Age of Uprising: Michael Kohlhaas (2013)); action movies (Refn’s Valhalla Rising (2009)); psychological drama (The Hunt (2012)); historical drama (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009); A Royal Affair (2012)); westerns (The Salvation (2014)); serial killer epics (Hannibal (2013-12015)); Bond movies (nemesis Le Chiffre against Daniel Craig in Casino Royale (2006)); dystopian sci-fi (Chaos Walking (20121)) and art cinema (Oscar-nominated After the Wedding (2006), Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate (2018)).
After training and performing as a dancer in his 20s, Mikkelsen made a shift to acting in his 30s. The supposedly late start proved no impediment, as his film debut in Refn’s Pusher announced an extraordinary screen presence. Mikkelsen arrived at an ideal point for a Danish actor since Danish cinema (thanks in part to the “Dogme” film movement) was in a renaissance in the late-1990s and early 2000s.
Though not directly associated with the high point of the “Dogme” period, Mads Mikkelsen proceeded to work with nearly all of Denmark’s important filmmakers, including Refn, Thomas Vinterberg (in his triumphant award-winning performance as a man unjust accused of child molestation, The Hunt (2012), and in the Oscar-nominated Another Round (2020)), Susanne Bier (After the Wedding); and Kristian Levring (The Salvation (2014)).
Like many European actors who reached international stardom—Mikkelsen in many ways is a European actor, having acted in multiple languages in Swedish, French, and Spanish productions –he has made the jump to Hollywood in a growing roster of commercial projects and franchises. His detours to television have been extremely selective and with great impact: His turn as Hannibal Lecter in the NBC series, Hannibal, managed to reach the equal of Anthony Hopkins’ iconic portrayal.
But it’s been his ability to appear in all of the major contemporary franchises that have distinguished Mikkelsen’s recent career. He has been featured or is set to co-star in Marvel Comics Universe (Doctor Strange), Star Wars (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)), Harry Potter (the Fantastic Beasts series), and the Indiana Jones franchise (the currently untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie, set for 2023). He is scheduled to star in Amma Asante’s Cold War-set thriller, Billion Dollar Spy.
Mads Mikkelsen was born in Copenhagen to mother Bente Christiansen and father Henning Mikkelsen. He has a brother, actor Lars Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen had been in a relationship with choreographer Hanne Jacobsen since 1987; the couple married in 2000. They had a daughter Viola in 1992 and a son Carl in 1997. Mikkelsen’s lifelong home has been Copenhagen and owns a second home on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. His height is 6’.
Multilingual: Mads Mikkelsen speaks Danish, English, Swedish, German, Russian and French.
Multiverse: Mikkelsen is one of the few actors to star or co-star in the three biggest contemporary movie franchises: Marvel Comics Universe (Doctor Strange), Star Wars (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Harry Potter (the Fantastic Beasts series).
Former Life: For a full decade before he launched a second career as an actor, Mikkelsen was a professional dancer.
Copenhagen Man: The only period of Mikkelsen’s life when he didn’t live full-time in his native city of Copenhagen was from 2013 to 2015 when he lived in Toronto filming episodes of the NBC thriller series, Hannibal.