Mads Mikkelsen: everything you need to know about the Danish Hannibal actor

FR FlagDE FlagFR Flag

He is one of Denmark’s most famous actors and is internationally known in particular for his role as Hannibal Lecter. However, his appearances in films such as Casino Royal and The Three Musketeers brought him global attention as well. Here you can find out everything about the life and career of the Danish actor.

Who is Mads Mikkelsen?

Mads Mikkelsen is a Danish actor and former dancer who is now internationally known. Despite that, he still plays in various Danish productions and thus supports the film scene of his home country. His collaboration with Danish director Ole Christian Madsen has resulted in famous films such as Prague (2006) and Flame & Citron (2008).

Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Dittmann Mikkelsen (born 22 November 1965 in Copenhagen) is a Danish actor and former dancer who is known both in the Danish film industry and through international productions. His best-known roles include Hannibal in the TV series of the same name (2013-2015).

Born22 November 1965
PartnerHanne Jacobsen
Copyright and legal information: Author: Georges Biard; Material:; Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0,, unmodified.

Biography: the life of Mads Mikkelsen

Childhood and early years

Mads Mikkelsen Copenhagen
Mads Mikkelsen comes from Copenhagen.

Mads Mikkelsen was born on 22 November 1965 in Copenhagen, as the son of a nurse and a bank clerk.

Whilst he trained enthusiastically in athletics at school, he switched to expressive dance after being approached by a choreographer. He was so successful that he even toured the country with musicals such as Chicago.

Eight years after starting his career as a dancer, he discovered his passion for acting, trained at the drama school in Aarhus and took on his first small roles.

Private life: wife, children and poker

Mads has been in a relationship with his current wife Hanne Jacobsen, a Danish choreographer, since 1987. The couple has two grown-up children, Viola and Carl. In his private life, he enjoys playing poker and was even caught playing in an illegal poker tournament in 2006, although he says he believed it was legal.

Mads Mikkelsen Private Life
Mads Mikkelsen has been an avid poker player since his role in Casino Royal.

Career: Mads Mikkelsen’s career

Mads Mikkelsen’s first appearance in a feature film was in 1996, when he played a drug addict in the Danish film Pusher, which was followed by further film and TV roles in Scandinavian productions such as Unit One (2000-2004), which even won an Emmy.

His international fame increased from the early 2000s. He was even number 25 on the list of the 100 most attractive film actors published by Empire magazine. Further, Mikkelsen received more and more role offers for international productions such as Casino Royale (2005).


  • Bodil (2005 and 2014)
  • European Film Award (2011 and 2020)
  • Robert (2005 and 2014)
  • Zulu Award (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007)
  • Actor Award of the (2002)
  • Actor Award of the Festival du cinéma nordique (2003)
  • Directors’ Week Award of the Fantasporto Film Festival (2004)
  • Actor Award of the Cannes International Film Festival (2012)
  • Actor Award “Die Europa” at the Braunschweig International Film Festival (2014)
  • International Actors Award of the Film Festival Cologne (2020)

Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal (2013) and Doctor Strange (2016)

Mads Mikkelsen is best known for his role as Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal, which aired from 2013-2015. He also won over an international audience as Kaecilius in Doctor Strange (2016). What both roles have in common: Mads Mikkelsen seems to be good at embodying characters that, as the Cannes Film Festival jury put it, “attract and terrify at the same time”.

Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald in the Harry Potter universe

After Johnny Depp resigned his role as the antagonist of the Fantastic Beasts film series in November 2020, it was announced that Mads Mikkelsen would take on the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald for the final three films in the fantasy series. The Dane made his first appearance in the magical world of Harry Potter in the film Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets (2022).

Filmography (selection): Mads Mikkelsen’s films

  • Café Hector (1996)
  • Pusher (1996)
  • Vildspor (1998)
  • Unit One – The Specialists (2000-2004)
  • Shake It All About (2001)
  • Open Hearts (2002)
  • The Green Butcher (2003)
  • King Arthur (2004)
  • Pusher II (2004)
  • After the Wedding (2006)
  • James Bond 007 – Casino Royale (2006)
  • Prague (2006)
  • Flame & Citron (2008)
  • Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)
  • Valhalla Rising (2009)
  • Clash of the Titans (2010)
  • The Three Musketeers (2011)
  • A Royal Affair (2012)
  • The Hunt (2012)
  • Hannibal (2013-2015)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  • At Eternity’s Gate (2018)
  • Arctic (2018)
  • Polar (2019)
  • Another Round (2020)
  • Chaos Walking (2021)
  • Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets (2022)

Mads Mikkelsen as The Witcher?

Fans of the famous book, video game and TV series The Witcher were keen to portray Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role in 2021. The drawings and digital adaptations by fans and 3D artists such as Wonki Cho show the actor as Geralt of Rivia, the protagonist of the series. The artwork attracted a lot of attention in the scene. Mikkelsen himself could imagine taking on the role, screenrant reported in 2021. However, in 2023, it was released that Liam Hemsworth would take the role from season 4 onwards, which resulted in a backlash from the fans.

SCANDICookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner