Danish actor to play Bond villain

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has joined the cast of the next James Bond film, Casino Royale, as the villain Le Chiffre.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has joined the cast of the next James Bond film, Casino Royale, as the villain Le Chiffre.

Bond is being played by British actor Daniel Craig, but the female lead in the film, now being shot in Prague, has yet to be cast. The production moves to the Bahamas later this week.

In the book version of Casino Royale, the first in Ian Fleming's long-running series, Bond and Le Chiffre match wits while playing high-stakes baccarat.

Le Chiffre is an evil genius known as the Number or the Cipher and has the usual Bond villain's penchant for torture. Fleming is believed to have based the character on British occultist Aleister Crowley.

In the 1967 spy film spoof Casino Royale, the role was played by Orson Welles.

Director Martin Campbell confirmed Mikkelsen, 40, had the role at a press conference in Praque, according to Reuters.

Mikkelsen has been a rising star in Danish film since the mid-1990s. He started out playing a pusher-junkie in the 1996 trilogy Pusher and went on to make Flickering Lights, Shake It All About and the police series Unit 1.

As he gained success, he was cast internationally in films such as Spain's Torremolinos 73 and the 2004 U.S. film King Arthur, as well as in the Danish movie The Green Butchers and the Danish-U.K.-Swedish-French co-production  Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.