Mads Mikkelsen Laughs at Journalist Asking About Lack of Diversity in 18th-Century Danish Drama

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen laughed at a journalist who asked about the lack of diversity in the actor’s latest movie — the 18th-century historical drama The Promised Land, which recently had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy.

During a press conference for the movie, a Danish reporter noted that the movie’s cast is “entirely Nordic” and therefore has a “lack of diversity” — at which point, Mikkelsen broke out in laughter and replied, “What are you on to? From the get-go?”

Watch below:

The journalist, whose name and affiliation remain unclear, proceeded with the rest of his question, saying the lack of diversity could hurt the movie’s chances at the Academy Awards. (This year’s Oscars race is the first to apply the Academy’s new diversity quotas, which impact only the best picture category.)

“I’m just curious — it’s not because of artistic reasons, it’s because of a lack of diversity, that this can’t compete in that competition. Are you worried about it?” the reporter asked.

Mikkelsen retorted: “Are you? I’m serious and honest, because you’re putting us on the spot, so you answer the question.”

The Promised Land director Nikolaj Arcel jumped in with a reply that appeared to be at least half joking.

“Well, first of all, the film takes place in Denmark in the 1750s. We do have a big plotline about a girl of color who is being subjected to racism, which was very rare, any people of color in Denmark… almost nobody,” he said. “She was probably at the time the only one in the entire country of Denmark.”

“I think it would be a little weird,” he added. “It’s just historical — how it was in the 1750s.”

The Promised Land is a historical drama that follows a Danish soldier (Mikkelsen) who attempts to settle Jutland in the name of the Danish king, only to come face to face with hostile forces.

The Academy’s new diversity quotas have inspired widespread mockery for their convoluted demands about minority and LGBTQQIAAP2S+ representation both in front of and behind the camera.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at [email protected]


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