Embarrassing moment Mads Mikkelsen is taken aback when asked about the lack of diversity in the cast of his film set in 1750s Denmark
- Mikkelsen stars in the film “The Promised Land,” which has a predominantly white cast
An upcoming film set in 1750s Denmark has been accused of a lack of diversity and told it risks failing to qualify for the Best Picture Oscar under new rules set in Hollywood.
In The Promised Land, James Bond actor Mads Mikkelsen plays an 18th-century army captain struggling to improve his social status and maintain his values in an increasingly hostile climate.
Mikkelsen appears alongside a predominantly white cast, and during an interview, a Danish journalist questioned the actor about the lack of racial diversity – which angered the star.
The reporter asked him: “The film is completely Nordic, so it lacks variety, one would say, and Hollywood also has new rules…?”
Mikkelsen, who starred as a villain in “Casino Royale,” immediately shook his head and asked, “What are you doing?” before turning to his director in apparent disbelief.
The journalist then explained that Best Picture Academy nominations must adhere to new rules announced by the Oscar committee, which state that films must feature diverse leading or supporting actors or that a large portion of the cast come from underrepresented groups.
He asked: “It’s not for artistic reasons, but for lack of diversity. Are you worried about that?”
An irritated Mikkelsen, 57, replied: ‘Is that you?’ You’re embarrassing us by answering the question.’
During an interview, a Danish journalist questioned Mr Mikkelsen about the lack of racial diversity – which angered him
Mikkelsen quickly defended himself against the reporter before turning to director Nikolaj Arcel
Mikkelsen, who appeared as a villain in “Casino Royale,” immediately shook his head and asked, “What are you doing?” and turned to his director in apparent disbelief
Director Nikolaj Arcel then chimed in and explained that the film actually features an ethnically diverse character who is a victim of racism.
“We have a big storyline about a girl of color who faces racism, she was probably the only one at the time.” [person of colour] throughout Denmark.
“It wasn’t a thought in our minds, I think it would be a bit strange, it’s just so 1750s,” Mr Arcel added, while Mr Mikkelsen grinned next to him.
The historical drama is based on a novel inspired by a real person, Captain Ludvig Kahlen, and recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
In May, the Oscar committee announced new representation and inclusion standards for a film’s eligibility for the awards, although they only apply to the Best Picture category.
The standards, which come into force next year, are intended to promote equal representation on and off screen to better reflect the diversity of cinema audiences and filmmakers.
They require that the film meet the criteria of either having at least one of the main actors or significant supporting actors or that 30 percent of the supporting cast be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.