Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond started on a high with 2006’s “Casino Royale,” which included a torture scene between Craig and co-star Mads Mikkelsen that instantly became one of the franchise’s most iconic Bond/villain confrontations. The scene finds Craig’s Bond naked in a chair and Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre using a whip to inflict pain on Bond’s testicles. It was the Bond franchise at its most risqué and provocative, but it turns out the torture scene could have been even wilder had director Martin Campbell not shut down a brainstorming session between Craig and Mikkelsen.
“There were a few times when Daniel Craig and I went a little far at the table discussing what the scene might be able to do,” Mikkelsen recently told Vulture about the nude torture scene. “It was a scene where I tortured him and he’s stripped naked to the chair, which was kind of radical. We’ve never seen Bond naked, and we’ve never seen him that fragile, and then obviously there are some undertones with the rope.”
“We were discussing how to approach it,” the actor continued, “and we just went further out with something that was really brutal and insane…[at one point Le Chiffre] actually cut [Bond] up somewhere, and he had to suffer with that for a while. At a certain point, director Martin Campbell was just smiling and said, ‘Boys, come back to the table. This is a Bond film. We can’t go there.’”
So much for an X-rated Bond scene. As Mikkelsen concluded, “We were lost in our indie world, right? You have to respect that. It is a Bond film. That’s the framework you need to understand.”
Playing a Bond villain proved a breakthrough moment for Mikkelsen’s career in the U.S., but it didn’t lead to all good things. “I got an American agent and it was like, ‘Okay, so you did a Bond film. Now things are happening. Move over there and spend some time and do all the meetings and the chitchat and some auditions,'” the actor remembered. “I never had the chance to think about whether it was a film I wanted to be in or not, I just did them all. Some of the stuff was interesting. And other things were just like — this is where I felt you can completely lose your confidence as an actor. Standing in an office with a person who looks down at his paper, and you pretend you have long arms and say one line.”
Mikkelsen is referring to his audition for “Fantastic Four,” which he walked out of because it required him to say one line of dialogue and pretend his arms are 80-feet long. Mikkelsen has lined up several new major Hollywood studio films, including “Fantastic Beast 3” and “Indiana Jones 5.”