1. Originally a gymnast and dancer, he began his career as an actor in 1996.
2. He starred in the critically acclaimed TV series Hannibal as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
3. A. O. Scott of The New York Times remarked that in the Hollywood scene, Mikkelsen has “become a reliable character actor with an intriguing mug” but stated that on the domestic front “he is something else: a star, an axiom, a face of the resurgent Danish cinema”.
4. Mikkelsen was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, the second son of Bente Christiansen, a nurse, and Henning Mikkelsen, a bank teller and trade union official.
5. In his youth he trained as a gymnast, wanting to pursue athletics, but then studied dancing at the Balettakademien in Gothenburg where he also became fluent in Swedish. During his dancing career, Mikkelsen met choreographer Hanne Jacobsen, whom he married in 2000.
6. He was a professional dancer for almost a decade until he left it behind to study drama at the Århus Theatre School in 1996, embarking on a career in acting.
7. He went on to play marginalized, often comic roles in popular Danish movies.
8. The following year, he gained wider popularity when he starred in the gay comedy Shake It All About .
9. In 2002 Mikkelsen had a starring role as a young doctor who falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his patients in Open Hearts which earned him both Robert and Bodil nominations in 2003 for best actor.
10. He also won best actor for this performance at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival in 2003. He won the Fantasporto Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the butcher.
11. Although a critical success in Spain, the film was poorly received in Scandinavian countries.