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It was an elated and humbled Mads Mikkelsen who accepted the price for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival this past weekend. The 46-year old Dane had his big break in Denmark, as Tonny in Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Pusher’ and garnered attention on the international scene as the bond villain Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’.
Mikkelsen won the prestigious Palms as the first Danish Actor to ever get the honors. He won for his portrait of Lucas in Thomas Vinterberg’s psychological thriller ‘The Hunt’. Lucas is in a new relationship and a new job after a rough divorce, trying to start anew. But when a rumor turns viscous, accusing the mild-mannered kindergarten teacher of sexually abusing a child, the noose starts to tighten around the neck of an innocent man.
The film itself was well received at Cannes and the press was buzzing with questions as the rumors were that director Vinterberg’s wife, who is 9 months pregnant, was due on Sunday – the night of the award show.
But the water held and despite losing out on the Palme d’Or of Michael Haneke’s French film ‘Amour’ (Love), the filmmaker and the production company Zentropa were pleased to see Mads Mikkelsen be handed the prize, by Gong Li.
The Palme d’Or winner, Haneke, is the 7th director to be rewarded twice with the highest honor at Cannes, having previously won for ‘Das Weiße Band – Eine Deutche Kindergeschichte’ (The White Ribbon) in 2009. ‘Amour’ is the story of Georges and Anne, a cultivated, retired couple whose love is put to the ultimate test when the wife’s health and mental condition begins to deteriorate rapidly after an attack. French acting legends Emmanuelle Riva, 85, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, 81, hold the leading roles.
Next up for Mikkelsen is the filming of ‘The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman’, which has just started in Bucharest. He takes on another villainous role, this time opposite Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood. After that, the danish heart-throb is scheduled to appear in Asger Leth’s (‘Man On A Ledge’) new, creative production ‘Move On’ where user interaction will steer the narrative and shooting locations, according to Indiewire.com.
To Indiewire, Mikkelsen explained why he got involved in ‘Move On’: “People out there will be part of it which is going to be new to all of us. They’re not going to take us in a direction that is totally fucked up but they might come with some inputs I like: ‘That’s not bad, let’s try that.’ It’s hard to have that kind of openness in a film but we will try it and I’m sure something will come out of that will be surprising for us.”