×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mads Mikkelsen on Surviving the Polar Wilderness in ‘Arctic’

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, best known for playing villains in “Hannibal” and “Casino Royale,” has a more nuanced role in Joe Penna’s “Arctic.” In the survival thriller, written by Penna and Ryan Morrison, and being sold in Cannes by XYZ Films, Mikkelsen plays a man stranded in the polar wastes after a tragic accident. Mikkelsen spoke to Variety about the movie, which is produced by Armory Films and Union Editorial.

How would you describe your character in “Arctic”?
He is you and me, he is everybody. Time has taken its toll on him being alone in the Arctic for so long. He doesn’t have a real past; you don’t get know much about him – does he have a family and so forth. We wanted him to be anyone who was trapped in this terrible situation.

What attracted you to the role?
I’ve read a few things like this before and they always fall into the trap of flashbacks, going down memory lane and a little of romance — for me that’s always disturbing for a story that is quite beautiful and radical in itself; we don’t need to add more emotions to that. Every time I turned a page I thought ‘Oh, please don’t let this happen,’ and it didn’t. It just felt as if [the writers] were in tune with the character while they were writing it, and [not just writing] what the audience wanted.

What part does the landscape play in the film?
It is the main character in many ways. It’s the thing that is unchangeable. I have no impact on the landscape, but it has enormous impact on me. I am a tiny person in the midst of the universe.

Is the landscape a hostile environment or is your character in tune with it?
Both. When we meet him, he’s been there for a while and it is kind of friendly, but he is sort of under siege; you could say he [feels] comfortably numb – he has come to terms with where he is and why he is there, and he is waiting it out. In some ways the film asks: “You can survive but does that mean you are alive?” When a second person enters the film the whole idea of being alive becomes very present.

Was it a difficult shoot?
This was by far the most difficult shoot I’ve ever done, which is saying a lot because I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in my life. We had the nature, the wind, the snow, the cold; we had long hours of shooting and I was in every scene. It was brutal, not just physically but emotionally too — I was always on the edge emotionally. It was a very draining shoot.

More Film

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content