"Affectedness or stardom has no place in Danish films"
by Adam’s Apples - Making Of - M&M Productions
20/05/2006 - Flickering Lights, The Green Butchers [trailer] and Adam’s Apples [trailer, film focus] and wrote sexy and charismatic roles for him in Susanne Bier’s Open Hearts [trailer], Brothers [trailer] and After The Wedding [trailer, film focus].
Could you describe your character?
Mads Mikkelsen: My character is one of the kindest persons on the planet but he suffers from the tiniest bit of denial. He’s in such a state of denial that people won’t believe it. But that’s his way of surviving the evil that surrounds him.
What is it like to work with Anders Thomas Jensen?
Anders Thomas’ universe includes something akin to theatre auditions. You can’t just stand there and look cool and get a nice shot. There’s a layer of theatre that must be included and you can’t be too theatrical. You discuss your character and pick a consistent manner of speech so your lines won’t be neutral but always character related.
What research did you do to ‘become’ a priest?
I couldn’t be inspired by a priest because no priest is like the one in the film. My starting point was the person described by Anders Thomas, not his profession. I started from the denials the character has and from there it wasn’t any different than the other characters I had played previously. I try to recognise some strength in myself that a given character has. We’re all familiar with denials; I just had to enlarge them from my level to an extreme level. I actually just peel away my own characteristics and focus on the aspect that is Ivan.
Your screen partners Ole Thestrup, Nicolas Bro and Nikolaj Lie Kaas also starred in Anders Thomas Jensen’s Flickering Lights and The Green Butchers, and Ulrich Thomsen in Flickering Lights. Is it easier to play with ‘the usual suspects’?
I think we’re in a period of time where we make films together. There’s no room for affectedness or stardom. It has no place in Danish films. It’s been rooted out. We’ve been working close together since the very start. We move things and lend a hand with the gear. So we really are a whole. I can only be good in a scene if my co-actor is comfortable.
How do you think the audience will react to the film?
You always hope that people will see your film. I hope that besides being entertained –which I’m sure they will be – people will also get the great moral tale it contains. It would be great for Anders Thomas to take off with this one. The way he writes would be a godsend to the Americans. They could use it if they dared.