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New ‘Hannibal’ Is Mads Mikkelsen

Mikkelsen just won Best Actor at Cannes

Mads Mikkelson will play the lead character in NBC's upcoming "Hannibal," portraying the "Silence of the Lambs" cannibal in his younger years, the network announced Monday.

Mikkelsen, a 46-year-old Danish actor, is fresh from a Best Actor win at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in "The Hunt." He plays a man who is the victim of public hysteria after he is accused of child molestation. He will also appear in next year's "Thor 2," and his past films include "Casino Royale" and "Clash of the Titans."

In an extremely unfortunate bit of timing, NBC announced the casting just as cannibalistic crimes are increasingly in the news. The midseason series is expected to begin shooting next month, with Hugh Dancy playing Lecter's nemesis, FBI Agent Will Graham.

Mikkelson joins a long line of Lecters, including Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for "Silence" and subsequently played him in "Hannibal" and "Red Dragon." Other Hannibals include Brian Cox, who played him in "Manhunter," and Gaspard Ulliel, who played the young Hannibal in "Hannibal Rising."

The show will be set before "Red Dragon" (which was first filmed as "Manhunter,") the first of Thomas Harris' books about the psychiatrist and serial killer.

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