In another, slightly alternate universe, Mads Mikkelsen, known for his roles in Casino Royale and Hannibal, could have been Reed Richards. That's not the universe we live in, but it almost was. Now, the actor has opened up about what he calls a humiliating audition to play Mr. Fantastic in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.
The information came about as part of a recent wide-ranging profile on Mads Mikkelsen. It began with the actor explaining how things began to change with him after his turn as a villain in the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale. Here's what he had to say about it.
"I got an American agent and it was like, 'Okay, so you did a Bond film. Now things are happening. Move over there and spend some time and do all the meetings and the chitchat and some auditions.' I never had the chance to think about whether it was a film I wanted to be in or not, I just did them all. Some of the stuff was interesting. And other things were just like, this is where I felt you can completely lose your confidence as an actor. Standing in an office with a person who looks down at his paper, and you pretend you have long arms and say one line."
Naturally, Mads Mikkelsen was then asked to clarify. He confirmed this was his audition for the Fantastic Four franchise, which starred Chris Evans as Johnny Storm and was directed by Tim Story years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to be. The actor then outlined more of his audition, which he did not enjoy.
"Yeah, and actually a good friend of mine got it, Ioan Gruffudd. I know a lot of casting is just first impressions, is there anything there that reminds the producer and the director of the character they're looking for? But I find it rude to ask people to come into a room and say one line while pretending you have 80-foot arms like the rubber man. 'Grab that cup of coffee over there,' it's like, Are you crazy? There's not even a scene here. It was kind of humiliating."
Fantastic Four, in an age before superhero movies regularly grossed $1 billion or more, was a sizable hit. It earned $333 million and paved the way for a sequel, 2007's Rise of the Silver Surfer. But that was the end for that particular iteration of Marvel's so-called first family. A reboot, 2015's Fantastic Four, went on to become one of the most notorious bombs of the last decade.
Mads Mikkelsen, in the end, got his chance to be in a Marvel movie, playing the villain Kaecilius in Doctor Strange. Mikkelsen has also been busy joining seemingly every franchise under the sun. He is set to portray Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, replacing Johnny Depp, and will star alongside Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones 5. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios and Disney are getting ready to reboot Fantastic Four with Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Far From Home) directing. This news comes to us via Vulture.