Mads Mikkelsen has been riding pretty high lately when it comes to his acting career. Over time, the Danish actor has made fans through prime TV gigs like Hannibal, as well as landed key roles in franchise entries like Indiana Jones 5 and Fantastic Beasts 3. But of course, worldwide audiences were most keenly put onto the trail of his talents when he won the role of Le Chiffre in 2006’s James Bond reboot, Casino Royale. However, that may not have happened if that time he left his script for the film on a plane turned out a little differently.

Even in the beginning of the 007 reboot, the fact that a script for Casino Royale was even circulating in the wild is something that could have been major. And as he told Vulture the story, Mads Mikkelsen admitted that he totally panicked over this happening. But as you’ll see in the story below, the man got the job done, and made sure to secure himself for his audition:

I got the script before I did the casting, and it was the first time I got a script where your name is printed on every page. I fell asleep on the plane, and I forgot it on the plane. I am the reason why they put your name on the script. This is what they’re trying to avoid. I panicked. I was out of the plane. I’d walked maybe a minute or something. I realized, Oh, no, and I went back, and they wouldn’t let me in. I think I was just lucky. I think somebody who cleaned up that plane had no idea what it was and threw it out. But that is obviously a complete disaster if it ends up on the front page of The Sun. I mean, this is the worst way of blowing it. I got a hold of those scenes somehow, and I went and did the audition.

Believe it or not, before his big role in Casino Royale, Mads Mikkelsen’s career was still a pretty interesting beast to follow. Working on films such as Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, as well as being a part of Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Pusher trilogy, it was only a matter of time before audiences recognized the man for the talent that he was. Though, that phase in his career did also land him some amazing voice gigs, as Mikkelsen was the Danish dub voice of Randall Boggs and Chick Hicks, for Pixar’s Monsters Inc. and Cars, respectively.

It may have been enough for Mads Mikkelsen to land the role of the first villain to ever square off with James Bond. Casino Royale wasn’t just the cinematic reboot for 007, it was also the book that kicked off Ian Fleming’s super spy back in 1953. So obviously, to have the right villain meant to increase the odds of success for new and untested Bond, Daniel Craig. The pressure was on to get things right with this film, and every character would count.

That high stakes scenario is why another quote that Mads Mikkelsen gave about how he landed Le Chiffre is all the funnier. As he was reunited with Daniel Craig for a Variety interview, a particularly stressful day in Casino Royale’s casting process was recounted by Mikkelsen. As he described the chaotic energy filling the room, he also mentioned how a fateful smoke break landed him the gig, complete with a truly Craig reaction:

You might remember at a fitting, our costume fitting, I was there and they dressed me in a tuxedo. But I was supposed to do the casting, the torture scene, with you. That was it. So I was just waiting around and waiting around, and you were casting the Bond girls. So it was a day of complete chaos. At that point, I’m not sure I can say this, you were smoking. So we had a cigarette, all of a sudden, together. And then Martin Campbell came up, and he was just so stressed out, walked up to me, and said ‘Hi Mads. I’m sorry, I don’t have time for you. Welcome aboard,’ and then he left. I was a little confused, and he came back and said, ‘Mads, you don’t understand. You’ve got the part, I don’t want to see you. Just fuck home.’ And then you took a drag of your cigarette, and you said the famous words, ‘Who did you fuck? I did six castings for this.’ That was our first meeting.

It may have been a good thing that Mads Mikkelsen and Daniel Craig never did the torture scene sequence on that day, as the Casino Royale co-stars were known to go a bit overboard with what they had planned for that moment. But even in Mr. Craig’s reaction, you could tell that his passion for Mikkelsen’s casting was there, and that’s something else he admitted during their big reunion. To think, without someone throwing out that lost script like it was a simple piece of trash, Mads Mikkelsen may have made a mistake so huge, he would have lost out on the rest of his career.

Thankfully, you’re in the timeline where Mads Mikkelsen did star in Casino Royale, which is currently available through several streaming providers for enjoyment. But if you want to see what he’s been doing lately, the Academy Award-winning film Another Round is showing on Hulu at this moment. Though, at this point, we basically have to throw in a reminder that all three seasons of Hannibal are on Netflix, unless we want to incur the wrath of the fannibals lurking in the audience.

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