Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mads Mikkelsen isn't quite sure how he became Rihanna's "Bitch," either

Jimmy Kimmel, Mads Mikkelsen
Jimmy Kimmel, Mads Mikkelsen
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live welcomed Danish actor and go-to villain who makes you feel funny, Mads Mikkelsen, from his temporary lair in London. There shooting that movie where he’s replacing an accused actual villain as another mystically inclined Big Bad, the affable Mikkelsen assured Kimmel he’s not entirely sure why he’s always getting cast as the person who tries to kill everyone while simultaneously giving audiences a strange feeling all over.

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Sure, it could be the Danish accent, as Mikkelsen purringly explained that, after the Russians had their big run as the de facto baddies in American movies, it was time for a new, foreign-y villain. He suggested that whole viking thing might still be lingering, too, although that was before the current white people were in charge. Eh, maybe it’s just all Mads, as the former (and possibly future) cannibal, sorcerer, Bond villain, devious cardinal, and all-around scary-but-sexy guy talked up his more sympathetic role in the Golden Globe-nominated Danish dramedy Another Round. (He also, while explaining the soundness of the film’s premise that being a little bit sauced all the time is actually beneficial and not just how everyone gets through a pandemic, appeared remotely in three-quarter profile on his webcam. More guests should do that.)

Still, Kimmel had to ask Mikkelsen about perhaps his most iconic villain, brushing past the actors roster of serial killers, world-dominators, and the occasional possible chicken-man, to ask just how, right in the middle of Hannibal’s run, he became the arch-nemesis of none other than Rihanna. “I have no idea,” Mikkelsen said amusedly of his role as the titular “bitch” who does, in fact, have RiRi’s money in the “Bitch Better Have My Money” music video. Explaining that he doesn’t know much pop culture, Mikkelsen credits his kids’ enthusiasm with his decision to star as the mogul-like money-monster who unwisely chooses to withhold Rihanna’s due royalties, further explaining that it’s the only set that his then-young son has ever wanted to visit. (Mikkelsen did not take the boy, for various reasons apparent to anyone who’s seen the video.) Referring to the project as the “Rihanna thingy,” Mikkelsen notes that getting “brownie points” from his offspring was reason enough to ply his signature villainous decadence in the video, where his character learned that Doctor Strange is one thing, but you just don’t mess with RiRi.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.