INTERVIEW BY NOOMI RAPACE
LENSMAN - KENNETH WILLARDT
HAIR BY FRANKIE FOYE AT PHOTO OP
MAKEUP BY STEPHEN DIMMICK AT L’ATELIER
NOOMI RAPACE—I’m the journalist! It’s the first time I’ve ever been the person who asks the questions. I’ve been doing my homework and watching a lot of your movies and I want to ask you how far are you willing to go to find what you’re looking for when you’re acting?
MADS MIKKELSEN—I don’t know how far I would go, actually. It depends what I’m looking for. I would probably go pretty far to make a scene work. I’ve hurt myself basically a billion times but I haven’t really crossed that physical line yet where I’ve thought that was too much. It’s been really tough emotionally once in a while, but I don’t think I’ve really crossed the line there either.
NR—Have you ever felt like you’ve lost yourself in it and you’re not in control anymore and you don’t really know if it’s the character or if it’s you who’s in charge?
MM—I think in general every actor is looking for that little space of getting lost. We always look to be in control of what we’re doing and at the same time letting go and getting lost in whatever situation it is. And when we do that we feel free and we feel like the character is on its move and we’re standing right behind, guiding it. But once in a while you can get lost and I mean really get lost where you don’t know what’s going on anymore. I think getting lost is something we’re all trying to achieve when we act. We’re trying to erase that knowledge of having the camera there and our own little camera that’s constantly watching us. There are a couple of times when I’ve lost track and I was like, “What the fuck happened in that scene?” but it wasn’t bad; it was something new I had to get used to.
NR—But it only happens to you in scenes? It’s not like when you’re done with the whole shoot that you realize that you’ve been on a journey that you didn’t really know you were on? I did this Danish movie, called Daisy Diamond and when I was done with it I realized I was quite lost but I hadn’t realized while we were filming it. There’s a difference between losing yourself in a scene and realizing later on that you lost yourself for a couple of weeks or months. Has that happened to you?
MM—I don’t think so. I’ve been involved in films that have gotten lost and coming out on the other side I realized we did not shoot what everyone expected. But it wasn’t in a sense that I got lost personally. I think I’ve always been a big fan of trying to get in and out of the character as fast as possible. That doesn’t mean you’re not carrying the energy of what you’ve done that day or the frustrations or the joy of what you’ve been doing but I definitely try to look at it from a distance and also just to be practical – it’s nice that my kids can recognize me when I come home once in a while.
NR—But do your characters affect you a lot? I was talking to [director] Nicolas Winding Refn about you and we were discussing how you’re fearless as an actor. For example, in that movie you did with him, Valhalla Rising, your character’s so specific and so strong – I’ve never seen anything like that. Did that affect you a lot?
MM—It did. And likewise with the first character I did with him [Winding Refn] in the Pusher films – he had such a hyper energy. Spending 10 hours a day being hyper and having your foot move up and down and just talking, talking, talking is obviously not that easy to forget about when you go home. It’s a physical thing; it catches you. Likewise with Valhalla Rising it was very much a Zen thing being this caged animal, gorilla kind of creature, unlike a real person. Being in that Zen mode in the beginning was a little frustrating because everyone was running around and I was sticking a lot to myself. It was difficult to lose that energy. I would still have a beer in the evening and I still tried to have some fun times with the other guys, but it was different. It does affect you when you do something that’s so different from your own energy and I don’t mind that. It makes you figure out things about yourself that you can use later in life. It hasn’t changed me but I think I’ve added a little something to the drawer.
(Excerpt from Issue 05)
Enjoy more of this on thelabmagazine.com, coming summer 2012!