Career He made his film debut in Nicolas Winding Refn's internationally successful film Pusher (1996) which would later spawn two sequels, in which he played a drug dealer.

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Set in the American West in the 1870s but shot in South Africa by Danish filmmaker Kristian Levring, it is a movie that’s a worthy addition to the Mikkelsen canon, which includes his turn as a villain in Daniel Craig’s first Bond film, “Casino Royale”; a Cannes best actor prize for his portrayal of a child molester suspect in “The Hunt”; and his chilling portrayal as Hannibal Lecter in the NBC TV series “Hannibal.” The Chronicle talked to Mikkelsen, 49, who was at home in Copenhagen, by phone. This is one of the stories of how America was created — by numerous crowds of Europeans who moved there — Italian, Spanish, Danish or French. It was an enormous country, and obviously you could not keep the law everywhere. Q: Speaking of violence, the recent shootings in Copenhagen (by a Muslim extremist at a free speech rally) must have rattled nerves there.

(Mikkelsen began dating his wife in 1987; they married in 2000 and have two children.) A: I go to the pub, hang out with my family — that’s pretty much it. The smallest little injury stays with you for so long. I’m always ready to do something that hurts a little!

So I guess that’s the state of Denmark and the state of Europe right now, and it’s not the last we’ve seen of it, so we have some issues to deal with. It’s almost like a painting lifted out of the wall. It’s not only a good Western, it’s a fantastic film. the constant rain, the arc of the characters — it’s just a fantastic film.

It was horrifying; this is a peaceful little country, so we’ve a hard time grasping it, of course. “Hannibal” is so gross, but it looks like it could be fun to film. There’s a certain style to the show that’s realism, but at the same time it’s not. Being physical, and doing my own stunts — it is fun to do these kind of films once in a while, especially before you get too old. In my 20s, I fell in love with the Sergio Leone universe as well — it’s hard not to.

Q: I know this is not that kind of film, but looking at some of your moves in “The Salvation,” I nominate you to take over Liam Neeson’s action niche when he retires. At first I like him (Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle), then I didn’t like him, then I like him again, and it kept on going back and forth, and I thought that was a powerful way to make a film.

Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen (born 22 November 1965) is a Danish actor.The following year, he gained wider popularity when he starred in the gay comedy Shake It All About (2001).In 2002 Mikkelsen had a starring role as a young doctor who falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his patients in Open Hearts which earned him both Robert and Bodil nominations in 2003 for best actor.In 1999, Mikkelsen had a leading role as Lenny, a shy film expert who suffers from avoidant personality disorder, opposite Kim Bodnia in Refn's Bleeder (1999).In 2000, Mikkelsen played a gangster opposite Søren Pilmark, Ulrich Thomsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas in Anders Thomas Jensen's Copenhagen gangster movie, Flickering Lights.He also won best actor for this performance at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival in 2003.