Article from LeMonde.fr by Samuel Blumenfeld, published August 28. Translated by your beloved servant Harps <3. I only translated the sections relevant to him and his body image. I write English like a drunk squirrel so please don’t mind the horrid grammar mistakes I may have made; I did my best to translate it as quickly as I could.
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His face is visibly an issue for him. If it were only up to him, Mads Mikkelsen would change it. The Danish actor actually considered calling in a surgeon, and even, he said, resorting to use vitriol. This torment has haunted his new movie, The Salvation (released August 27), a western by his Danish peer Kristian Levring (…).
In this abhorred face, according to the actor, there is first his prominent cheekbones. « Way too protruding », he reckons. Then, his huge eyes, not really round nor oval, « in fact, an improbable geometry ». « I’m told that they get people down, and that is probably correct. » And, finally, an excessively large mouth that matches his eyes.
« Directors have always told me that it was a predator’s jaw, a bad guy’s jaw. This is surely why I have inherited the role of Hannibal Lecter (…) ».
« I had already started to look like a Picasso »
Many years ago, the Danish actor has thought about changing this ambiguous face. Without vitriol. Using only scissors. He has forsaken his dream of an aesthetic revolution : a simple, gentle transformation should be enough, he thought. He has considered getting his smooth, too conventional haircut over with – a businessman’s haicut that was said to put his eccentric face forward. But he has given up : destroying his haircut was too soft a solution, not radical enough.
Mads Mikkelsen thus began with his eye. He was a one-eyed, silent warrior in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising (2009). (…) « In this movie, I had already started to look like a Picasso – which was ‘nothing much anymore’. (…) ».
The peak of his defacement was reached in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale (2006) (…).
Mads accepts the role. « I was granted the right to design this role as I pleased. So many foreign actors had lost themselves in a bad guy role, in [the James Bond] series. For Americans, foreigner means exotic : this exoticism turns into a caricature, and what was meant to allow a comedian to start a career in Hollywood becomes an impass. I have long discussed my role with Campbell (…) but then, Barbara Broccoli, the producer, stopped me : "Young man, your ideas are excellent, formidable even, but you’re going to spoil the most profitable saga in the history of cinema."»
His body being put forward torments him
Before becoming an actor, Mads Mikkelsen was a gymnast and a dancer. « I’ve had a classical traning at first (…). And even then, people were always staring at my face, way less than at my body. » His body being put forward torments him. (…)
« His mug is impossible to forget »
Mads owes his cinematographic career to director Nicolas Winding Refn. (…) The encounter between the two became a full collaboration : Mikkelsen’s ideas are systematically kept by Winding Refn. They even had a silent agreement : each time Winding Refn has a role for its partner, it’s the starring role. The director’s passion for his comedian, once more, comes from Mads’s face. « His mug is impossible to forget » Winding Refn assures. « I’ve never seen such a face and haven’t ever since. And, Mads comes from a neighborhood in Copenhagen where people are ill-mannered and don’t talk well. I do like bad boys. »
(…) On his way back to Canada, for Hannibal’s second season filming, Mads asked to have a mirror in his dressing room. For once, the goal was to look at himself – not to destroy himself. « Lecter is a man who sees beauty within ugliness. His values are reversed. » In the shoes of this monster, Mads Mikkelsen can finally appreciate himself.