Mads Mikkelsen recently revealed an amusing anecdote from the set of Casino Royale. He claimed that James Bond star Daniel Craig is actually not so great at poker.
While recalling some of his most iconic roles with GQ, Mikkelsen looked back at his “vulnerable” antagonist Le Chiffre from the 2006 James Bond film and said he himself was well-versed with poker, referring to that big card game scene between the foes — though the same cannot be said for his costar.
“Everybody knew how to play poker around that table, except for one, Daniel,” he said via EW. “He had no clue. He sucked. And it was the worst thing ever that he, of all people, had to beat [my character] and win all my money. It was like, ‘This is wrong.’ Well I got him back with the rope, so that’s good.”
Mikkelsen, for his part, has played the game since he was a kid, so it was “not new to me,” he said.
“The hands we are playing are insane, so if you’re a poker player, you’ll go, ‘What?’ We just wanted to make the nature of the betting believable, but the hands obviously had to be easily recognizable for an audience that doesn’t play poker, so they were quite crazy hands.”
The spy film from director Martin Campbell went on to follow Craig’s 007 as he set out to defeat Mikkelsen’s private banker in a high-stakes poker game, in the hopes of toppling his organization. It also starred Eva Green, Caterina Murino, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench.
Mikkelsen called his antagonist a “different kind of villain” during the interview.
He’s a normal person, he’s not taking over the world,” he offered. “He’s not one of those guys. He’s in it for the money, and if Bond didn’t bump into his way, they would never have met. It’s not that he’s after anyone. He’s vulnerable, there’s people above him, people who are used to violence in a different way than he is. He’s a different kind of villain, that’s for sure.”