He went on to play a Bond villain in "Casino Royale," and survived fighting green-screen scorpions in "Clash of the Titans," the mark of a true star. He can be dangerous and violent, deranged and funny, mighty warrior or tender lover. He likes to strip away extra layers to the lean meat of a performance. After nine years as a dancer, "emotional stuff gets in my body somehow," he says. "I see so many cases where if you chase the dream you can't catch it but if the dream is in the work, you will sleep a happy man."
"Everything I've done is a stepping stone to what I do today," he told LAT's John Horn at a Telluride Q & A right before moving with his family to Toronto for a year's shooting on the new TV series "Hannibal." "We get away with a lot," he promised.
He's performed credibly in Danish, French, Russian and English. Now Mikkelsen is on the cusp of global stardom, winning the Best Actor prize at Cannes for playing a school teacher falsely accused of being a pedophile in Thomas Winterberg's "The Hunt" (2013) and earning a well-deserved tribute at the Telluride Film Festival. His latest film, the Danish hit "A Royal Affair" (November) tells the true history of an enlightened intellectual doctor who not only took care of his country's addlepated king, but slept with his wife. Both Magnolia pick-ups are playing at the Toronto Fest.
I sat down with the actor at Telluride, below.