A Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner for 2012’s The Hunt, and a jury member last year, Mads Mikkelsen doesn’t have a film in the festival this year, but is in town to discuss his next project, Arctic. Directed by Joe Penna, it’s the story of a man stranded after a plane crash who is finally about to receive his long-awaited rescue. But when his opportunity is lost, he must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his camp or embark on a deadly trek through the unknown for potential salvation.
Mikkelsen tells me in the video above that his character is “alive but not living. It’s a whole story about the contradiction between surviving and then living, which is two very different things. Can you do that by yourself? Or do you need other people in your life to come back to actually living?”
XYZ Films is handling international sales and Armory Films produced and financed the picture which was shot in Iceland. Mikkelsen says it came about very quickly, “It was very rock and roll and very fast,” he tells me. The shoot was also brutal. “Let’s put it this way,” says Mikkelsen, “I loved it. I loved the challenge. But there were definitely times where I wished I was 22-years-old… It was the most challenging thing I’ve done in my entire life, physically and mentally.”
When I spoke with the Danish actor in Cannes last year, he had two major films due to come out: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange. At the time, he couldn’t speak too much about them. But his time around, he was able to elaborate.
Of playing Rogue One‘s Galen Erso, he says, “You’re a part of something. It’s legendary stuff… It was surreal to be in it, but the aftermath was like more than anything I could imagine. The fandom of that franchise is unfathomable. And I understand why. They have very, very human stories set in a world that is magical and so everyone can relate to it.”
Of Doctor Strange, in which he played villain Kaecilius, he notes he was a big Marvel fan as a boy. “I basically lived inside those comic books when I was a kid and I remember vividly Doctor Strange… It was a little elaborate I think for a seven- or eight-year-old kid, but the colors, his character, I rememeber vividly.”
Reflecting on last year’s jury experience, he says it was “fantastic.” With his co-panelists, “We were disagreeing and agreeing. It was like a cat versus dog fight… and it was beautiful and they are all friends today.”