Sub-zero temperatures. Blistering 40-mile-per-hour winds. Snow as far as the eye can see.
These are only a few of the unsparing conditions actor Mads Mikkelsen had to overcome over the course of 19 days filming in Iceland for his new survival movie, “Arctic,” about a pilot stranded in a snow-covered wilderness after his small plane crashes.
“The conditions are brutal and gruesome,” Mikkelsen told the Daily News.
“There were days we were not allowed to go outside,” he explained. “Our car doors were ripped off and they disappeared down the valley, and we never saw it again. That was not weather for man or beast.”
The Denmark-born Mikkelsen, whose character is named Overgård in the film due out Friday, lost 14 pounds early in the production, as he spent 12 to 15 hours traveling on foot in the snow each day.
He describes the severe outdoor environment as “the biggest obstacle” faced by the cast and crew, but believes it was a necessary evil for the sake of the film.
“At the same time, it was also our biggest strength, our biggest ally, because it’s playing the lead in the film,” Mikkelsen said of the conditions. “So there’s a lot of free gifts coming from that.”
Mikkelsen, 53, ingratiated himself to American audiences over the years with villainous roles in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” and in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange;” as TV’s Hannibal Lecter in the NBC series “Hannibal” and as Galen Erso, the creator of the Death Star, in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
And now, he’s the headliner of two new American films. In addition to “Arctic,” Mikkelsen is the lead star in the Netflix thriller “Polar,” released Friday, in which he plays a masterful assassin named Duncan Vizla whose longtime agency attempts to kill him 2 weeks before his retirement to avoid giving him one final paycheck.