To be clear, Mads Mikkelsen’s crack-eyed Kaecilius in Marvel’s upcoming mythical actioner Doctor Strange is not a good guy. A disciple of the Baron Mordo (played in the film by Chiwetel Ejiofor), Kaecilius wasn’t all that well developed in the comics, but we do know he did his evil master’s bidding, and will be making life extra tough for Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular superhero.
Mikkelsen says his inspiration for the part, however, is one of cinema’s most revered good guys of all time: late martial arts icon and movie star Bruce Lee.
“We have a lot of physicality going on, and it’s martial arts, and one of my biggest heroes of all time is Bruce Lee,” Mikkelsen told us at San Diego Comic-Con (watch our chat above). “Who would’ve thought at the age of 50 I would get to be a miniature version of him?”
The Danish actor, probably best known for TV’s Hannibal, is a former dancer and gymnast. He first cracked into the film business in Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn’s Pusher trilogy and the drama After the Wedding, but has since been racking up action roles in tentpoles like Casino Royale and the upcoming Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, in addition to his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Doctor Strange.
Mikkelsen assessed his own martial arts skills as “fantastic,” adding, “I’m really good at it. I’ve been practicing all my life in the sense that I’m an ex-gymnast and I’ve always wanted to do something like that. But it took a Marvel film to do it for me.”
Doctor Strange opens Nov. 4.
Watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pratt nominate Captain Marvel for president: