Mads Mikkelsen (‘Another Round’): ‘This story was about embracing life’ when it feels like it’s passing you by [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

When Mads Mikkelsen first heard about “Another Round” from director Thomas Vinterberg, it was just a pitch eight years ago about “this philosopher who had this theory that we’re born with too little alcohol in the blood if you wanted to achieve things.” But when he read the fleshed-out script it dug deeper. The theory about alcohol “was the kickstarter to the story, but this story was much more about embracing life and about four characters who are kind of standing on the platform looking at the train that’s just leaving them.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Mikkelsen above.

Mikkelsen plays Martin, a teacher feeling unfulfilled in his career and his marriage who embarks on this experiment with his friends. “Between the four of us actors and Thomas, we have enough experience to know how it is to be drunk,” says Mikkelsen, but the cast ran an experiment of their own “to just double check what it means after two glasses of wine, three, four, five, and hit the exact levels.” In the moment the different levels of intoxication didn’t feel very different, but “when we watched the video the day after we could see big differences … gestures, hands are getting looser, if you have a lisp it will come out all of a sudden, so that gave us some tools to dial up and down.”

It all builds to a cathartic dance sequence that ends the movie. Though Mikkelsen has dance training, he wasn’t so sure it would be consistent with the realism of the rest of the film. Vinterberg convinced him otherwise, and now Mikkelsen agrees it was the right choice for the character emotionally. “We wanted the man to be in a state of wanting to fly and wanting to fall at the same time,” he explains about Martin’s complex mix of emotions, which made that sequence “an internal journey more so than being an aesthetic dance.”

Now the film is on the Oscars shortlist for Best International Feature representing Denmark. It’s a familiar position for Mikkelsen to be in as he previously starred in three Danish Oscar nominees: “After the Wedding” (2006), “A Royal Affair” (2012) and “The Hunt” (2013), the last of which was also directed by Vinterberg. So is he Denmark’s good luck charm? “I haven’t been so far. We’ve been nominated, but we’ve never won.” Denmark has won the Oscar three times for other films, most recently “In a Better World” (2010). So with “Another Round,” the fourth time could be the charm for both Denmark and Mikkelsen.

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