After Cannes and The Hunt, it's Mikkelsen the Cannibal
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
07/06/2012 - Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (photo), who was honoured at Cannes for his performance in Danish director Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt [trailer, film focus], will play the cannibalistic serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter, whom US writer-producer Bryan Fuller has reinvented for a 13-episode NBC-Gaumont television series, Hannibal.
Introduced in US author Thomas Harris's 1981 thriller Red Dragon, Lecter - who used to wash down his victims with a glass of chianti - has previously been portrayed on screen by Scottish actor Brian Cox (1986), French actor Gaspard Ulliel (2007), and three times by UK actor Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for his take on 'Hannibal the Cannibal' in US director Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
For his 2012 update, Fuller has used five pages from Red Dragon to provide the back-story of the cannibal psychiatrist, describing how he worked with the FBI profiler Will Graham (UK actor Hugh Dancy) solving crimes in the early stages of their relationship - Graham would eventually discover Lecter's secret inclinations.
Besides The Hunt and Danish director Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair [trailer, film focus], Mikkelsen - whose break came in Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher (1996) - is now making most of his films abroad. He was Le Chiffre in the James Bond movie, Casino Royale [trailer] (2006), the composer in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky [trailer] (2009) and appeared in Clash of The Titans (2010) and The Three Musketeers (2011).
After receiving the Best Actor prize at Cannes, he returned to Bucharest to continue the shooting of Swedish-born, former award-winning director of commercials Fredrik Bond's US romantic actioner, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, where he plays another villainous character opposite Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood.
His summer schedule also includes the lead in Danish director Asger Leth's Move On, about a man arriving at Amsterdam on the way to deliver a silver suitcase somewhere in Europe. The film will shoot in eight European countries, where audiences have been encouraged to mail input to everything from casting to locations for UK writer Matt Greenhalgh's screenplay.