It’s an odd thing to point out that Mads Mikkelsen, who has been acting now for over 20 years, is having a pretty big couple of months.
First up, he’s playing power hungry Kaecilius, who becomes the enemy of Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in this week’s latest Marvel entry, Doctor Strange.
Then he’s playing Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Galen, the father of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), is a scientist begrudgingly involved in the construction of the original Death Star who tips off the Rebel Alliance that a new super weapon is being built.
But, yes, as Mikkelsen himself points out, he’s appearing in the two biggest movie franchises going, about a month apart from each other. (Yes, he’s going to have a busy couple of months.) Ahead, Mikkelsen discusses his relationships with both superheroes and Star Wars, reveals his involvement in those now infamous Rogue One reshoots, and tries to trick me into thinking he’s never seen the original Star Wars.
This is weird to say considering how long you’ve been doing this, but you have a couple big moths coming up.
Do you think about that?
It’s starting to dawn on me as well. You know, when you do it you’re in a mist: You do your job and you try to fulfill the vision of the director. But stepping back a couple of steps and looking at it: It is a little crazy I’m in two of the biggest franchises there’s ever been in movies.
Did you know they’d come out around the same time?
I was a little surprised, I started with Doctor Strange, then we shot Rogue One and I thought there would be at least half a year between them. Nope! No chance. They are coming out now. And so be it.
You’ve been a James Bond villain, has Marvel villain been something you’ve wanted to do?
Yeah. I mean, why not? I was a big, huge Marvel fan as a kid. And I watched all the films as well, so it is something I’ve been a fan of. I think they’ve down a fantastic job of making these cartoons come to life on the big screen. And I think they keep expanding the qualities and ideas of what they want to do with the films. And it might be a “big machine” for someone, but it feels extremely creative when you’re in the midst of it.
I usually don’t like 3D. The 3D in Doctor Strange is great. It takes advantage of the weird visuals.
Obviously if 3D should work, it should be with this kind of stuff that is spinning your head around. But it’s still Marvel. You can still see Marvel all over it. But, the Doctor Strange comic books themselves were different: They were started in the midst of, I don’t know, some kind of acid trip as well. That was part of it. Then the kung fu, and magic and inner strength thing came in. I think they shaved the most crazy things off, but they kept the energy that was in the original books. And that’s smart, because we’re not in the ‘60s anymore.
Did you read Doctor Strange? Compared to other titles, not as many people read it, but it has a cult following…
It was not up there with the other guys, but for the hard-core fans he was. I was just reading everything at that point. I think it might have been too adult for me in some ways. It was very rich and intellectual and it was very philosophical, but I didn’t really notice that. I was just six or seven years old. I loved the fact that he could manipulate the world and I loved the colors. I remember vividly liking him a lot, but I think it was a little too intellectual for a kid then it would be a teenager.
What were your favorite comics?
I read everything. I also had a lot of European comics. I loved The Spirit. But as superheroes go, I think Spider-Man was much more accessible. He was like you and me. He didn’t have the biggest forearms in the world, he was just a kid who had a big mouth.
You get to fight with Tilda Swinton.
Yeah, I get to have a fight with Tilda Swinton!
Yeah. And a pretty good one!