Mads Mikkelsen: The perfect Hannibal Lecter?

The Danish actor lands the coveted job of playing the iconic villain — famously portrayed by Anthony Hopkins on film — in a new NBC television series

Danish actor Mads Mikkelson has played his fair share of sinister characters, but stepping into the iconic role of Hannibal Lecter may put his creep-factor to the test.
(Image credit: Stephane Cardinale/People Avenue/Corbis)

NBC has found the next Hannibal Lecter. The network, along with writer-producer Bryan Fuller, has reportedly picked Danish actor Mads Mikkelson to star as the cannibalistic killer in its upcoming drama series, Hannibal. Mikkelsen will play the psychiatrist-turned-serial killer from the Thomas Harris novels, as he helps an FBI criminal profiler solve cases. Mikkelson has played a Bond villain in Casino Royale and took home the best actor award at Cannes last month for his role in The Hunt, but, other than a fitting first name, is he up to the job of playing the deliciously scary villain most famously portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs?

This is a stroke of casting genius: "We've sort of been on the fence about the idea of bringing Thomas Harris' Hannibal to the small screen," says Kevin Jagernauth at Indiewire, but the suits at NBC seem to be making all the right moves. First, they made the "intriguing" decision to start the story before Lecter winds up behind bars, instead of "jumping right to the cannibal we know" and love. And "this is a great bit of casting" — Mikkelson is a just an "awesome" bad guy.

"Whoa: Mads Mikkelsen to play Hannibal Lecter on NBC's Hannibal"

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Mikkelson is great, but he's no Anthony Hopkins: Mikkelson has "some very big shoes to fill," says Matt Joseph at We Got This Covered. The great Anthony Hopkins made Lecter into one of the iconic villains of modern film with his brilliant portrayal of the creepy genius in The Silence of the Lambs. "I can't really see anyone but Hopkins" doing the role justice... still, I look forward to watching Mikkelson try.

"Mads Mikkelsen will play Hannibal Lecter in NBC's Hannibal"

Let's hope fans — and the network — give him a chance: "Mikkelsen is a great actor," says Sandy Schaefer at Screen Rant, "and his being cast as Dr. Lecter gives us reason to check out the pilot for Hannibal." We might have the pleasure of watching Mikkelson portraying Dr. Lecter for years to come, depending on "how receptive viewers are to his take on the infamous, suave, serial killer." But this is TV — network TV — so let's just hope NBC doesn't cancel Hannibal prematurely, before Mikkelson really has the chance to prove himself a worthy heir to the character.

"Mads Mikkelsen cast in Bryan Fuller's Hannibal TV series"

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