Mads Mikkelsen has made a career out of taking monsters—Bond villains, refined cannibals, bizarro chicken men—and presenting them sympathetically. So it’s not surprising that the actor asserted that his Doctor Strange character, Kaecilius, is less a villain, and more a man who opposes the hero’s point of view, at a recent press conference for the movie, which hits theaters on November 4.
“I always think of all characters as a hero,” Mikkelsen told Screen Rant, adding that he sees Kaecilius—who wants to open our world to other, potentially hostile dimensions— as a true believer in his ideals. “We tried to make him a man who knows what he’s talking about, a little bit like a demigod, Jonestown, or whatever it’s called, somebody who believes, utterly in what he says,” Mikkelsen said. (Note to Mads Mikkelsen: Most people do not see Jim Jones as a hero.)
There’s nothing explicitly new in an actor suggesting his bad guy has a well-defined motivation and point of view. Mikkelsen himself has said it before about Kaecilius, telling Yahoo! News back in June, “He is the antagonist, of course, but he’s not necessarily wrong.” Still, given Marvel’s ongoing troubles with creating compelling villains that aren’t played by Tom Hiddleston, it’s nice to know that the company’s next antagonist has an inner life more complicated than “Lee Pace Smash!”