Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Interview: Abridged and Emphasized

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This is the complete version of Mads Mikkelsen’s interview about Hannibal season 3 that I did a couple of months ago, before the season premiere, of which an excerpt has been posted before. Unlike Richard Armitage’s interview this is NOT the unabridged version of the interview and, while I sincerely apologize for that, I have a strong reason for doing so.

The interview session with Mads (consisting, as usual, a group of 4 journalists, including myself) was not as stellar as Mr. Armitage’s session. With all due respect to Mads Mikkelsen, who is also a wonderful, straightforward interviewee, this session was riddled with non-Hannibal related questions (e.g. asking him about his James Bond role) that I have no interest in putting inside my article. When the Hannibal-related questions appear, some of them are just too generic and too broad; a few, even, Mads has answered in other occasions (for example, questions about how playing Hannibal Lecter has affected his taste in anything and his preparation to play a killer like Hannibal in general). They are of no interest to me and so I didn’t use them in my article, and so they are not here either.

My long article was partially based on this interview, with some tidbits taken from a junket in Toronto last April, plus my observations of the show. A full translation of the article is not in the works at the moment but reading the Mads Mikkelsen interview will give you a glimpse of what I wrote in the article (with extra emphasis on Francis Dolarhyde and the Red Dragon arc.)

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The Interview

How does Hannibal the series handle the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Francis Dolarhyde? In previous incarnations, they don’t really have direct contact. Do we get a showdown of some kind? And what was it like working with Richard Armitage?

He has an obsession with Hannibal, so we do get in touch. Given the nature of the TV show, I would be very surprised if we don’t see them having some kind of interaction, more than just ‘getting in touch’. So I can’t really tell you what’s gonna happen but I think ‘showdown’ is a small word for what’s happening.

It’s fantastic to work with Richard – not only him but also the [actress] who plays Reba – we’ve managed to find two fantastic actors who are really up for the task, and they’re taking at least 5 or 6 episodes of the show. So we needed strong actors for that, and I know for sure that they have accomplished that 100%.

How do you compare the relationship that Hannibal has with Bedelia du Maurier to his relationship with Will Graham?

They’re very complicated relationships and they’re both not super healthy relationships. The relationship with Bedelia, I think, they know things about each other. They have a common past. For that reason, he likes her to be around, to share his wonderful time in Europe with someone. He’s not a man who loves to be alone in that sense – he doesn’t mind but he also loves sharing it and Bedelia is a perfect match for that.

When it comes to Will, it’s a very different thing… I think Hannibal, to a certain degree is obsessed with Will Graham. Mentally and emotionally there’s something about this man that has caught Hannibal’s attention like nobody else has done before. So, again, this is not a healthy relationship but it’s the strongest he’s ever had.

What is it like to work with Vincenzo Natali who is essentially a horror director? I’ve become an admirer of him ever since I saw Splice and he seems to bring something new to the series.

Vincenzo was already there on he second season, we already worked with him then, so he was not new to us. And yes, he’s a horror director but he’s also a very emotional horror director – he sees the beauty whereas the rest of us sees the horror. A little like Hannibal, so he has a very strong [?] play. He’s not the only horror director we’ve had on the show but they all have one thing in common: they don’t see it as horror, they see it as beauty. And I think that’s what… so characteristic about the show as well.

Going to Europe was fantastic, we all needed a change. It was like going to school camp with all your friends. Just the change of scenery, the change of language, the change of food, was something that gave us [something] extra.


AF66-Feat-HannibalS3-MMikelsenChiyoh is a character associated with Hannibal’s past. How far will we get to explore Hannibal’s past in season 3?

We will talk about it. We’ll get some kind of insight. Not a lot, but we will get an idea of what he was like as a young man or a kid, and we will get some of the stories of his past. But we’re not trying – and we’ve been very careful not to do so – not to explain that something happened to him when he was a young man, and that is why he is what he is today. That has no interest to us. We believe that Hannibal is what he is, he’s always been like this. There’s not one single banal thing that made him the man he is.

One of my favorite moments in Hannibal is the therapy sessions – with Will Graham, for instance. Out of curiosity, do you have any special preparations for these scenes? Like, do you consult with actual psychiatrists for them?

One of the things that are interesting about the scenes is that they become very personalized. Although he’s a very skillful psychiatrist, he’s not very professional with it. He makes it very personal right away. He drags himself through the equation, and comes through a lot of hell between him and his clients. That’s not very professional but it’s very interesting.

I think it’s also one of the strong sides about the writing in the show. I did not have lessons with any psychiatrist, because they are of a different nature of a normal session would be. But I think he is also what we call a pocket philosopher,  and being an actor you are aso a pocket philosopher. Meaning, you know a lot about human nature – you have to, when you’re an actor. And I think he’s [one of them] as well.

Tidbits

When asked about whether he was interested in playing in a Marvel movie:

I’ve had one offer for a Marvel film in Thor 1 or Thor 2. And I couldn’t make it because we were doing Hannibal. I would love to be in a Marvel film. If one day they need an older Spider-Man, I’m ready. I can climb the walls.

He was also asked about what would be the highlight season 3. His answer is longer than this – he answered, in a vague non-spoiler-y manner that relationships between characters and small details are also an important part of the season – but this was the most interesting part.

The Red Dragon story, the Dolarhyde story, is a powerful part of the whole season. You don’t have to look out for it; it will be in your face right away.

Oddly enough, he was asked about Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (because they are both from Denmark) and whether he’d like to play in Game Of Thrones as well.

I think it’s fantastic what Nikolaj has achieved. We started out together and I think he graduated a year or two before me. We’ve done numerous theater plays and films together as well. Very early on in his career he went abroad, and he was very ambitious about working abroad. And it’s taken him a while but now he’s made it, and he’s made it big time. So I’m very proud of him; I think he’s achieveing something fantastic. Yes, I would love to be part of [Game Of Thrones], but not any part of course – I would be the one who kills him in the show.

Lastly, someone asked him about who he’d rather meet in a dark alley: Le Chiffre from Casino Royale or Hannibal Lecter. He chose Le Chiffre, because in his opinion he could overpower and outsmart the Bond villain, but he didn’t think there’s no escaping Hannibal from such a place.


This interview was published in All Film #66. You may post this interview in full or in parts in your website, but it is necessary to credit me as “Amanda Aayusya/All Film Magazine” and link to this blog. Please ask for permission if you want to translate this article into another language.

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