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Mads Mikkelsen Opens Up About His ‘Death Stranding’ Experience

  • The acclaimed actor talks about his role as Cliff and working with Hideo Kojima.
  • Mads participated in an interview with Russian news agency TASS Comic Con Russia.
  • Mads claims that there is more to Cliff than meets the eye.


Death Stranding is only a month away from launch now, and the PlayStation 4 exclusive still has a number of mysteries surrounding it. One of the largest mysteries around it, though, is the character Cliff, portrayed by Mads Mikkelson. We have seen a compassionate father figure singing and telling stories to a Bridge Baby, and we have seen the dark man emerging from shadows and blackened pits bringing skeletal soldiers in his wake. While the motivations of many of the characters shown during the development cycle have become clearer, Cliff is still as enigmatic as the day he was first teased to us.

While in the country for Comic Con Russia, Mads Mikkelsen took the time to sit down with the news agency TASS for an interview about Death Stranding, his role in the game, and his time working alongside Hideo Kojima. It provides some good insight into the game, as well as into the actor himself as he speaks at length about the long process over the game. Here are some highlight questions and answers from the interview:

TASS: This is a rare sight for a Hollywood star of your class to play in a video game. Do you think we are at the dawn of a new era of synergy of cinema and video games?

Mads: Yes. I do. I know that Keanu Reeves is also working on one [Cyberpunk 2077 – TASS]. Yes, it is going to be the future. It’s not going to change the world, it’s not going to be our fulltime job, but there’s obviously a bridge between those two universes that I think can bring some very interesting things with it. Years ago, when television came, we panicked – what’s going to happen now? Are movies over? When movies came, everyone panicked – is theater over? There’s always something new that we can add to this world, and I think this is just another step. 

TASS: In previous interviews, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve said you don’t like wasting time on the set and you want a clear understanding from the director of where this is all going. How was it in this respect with Kojima?

Mads: I insist on feeling where his vision is going, and I don’t mean getting clear directions like ‘you go there, sit down, say the line,’ I hate that. But trying to understand his mind and vision is crucial for me to be able to go there and offer some ideas that could fit into his universe. Hideo was very inspiring.

TASS: Tell us about Cliff, your character. What was it like to be him? As far as we understand, he is the antagonist?

Mads: Yeah, but then again – no. We learn more about the characters throughout those hours or days of playing the game. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say, but… The more you play it, the more the characters will develop, and you will find little bits and pieces that fit the puzzle, so I would definitely not say that he is the antagonist solely.

The rest of the interview delves into other aspects of Cliff, Death Stranding, and Mads himself and you can check it out here. So, Cliff is more than just an antagonist? That doesn’t seem to clear things up at all, and yet it’s more of an answer than we’ve gotten about the character than from anything else we’ve seen so far. 

Are we looking at a fallen hero? Are we gazing at a character who appears to be a villain, but is actually a force for good? Or are things in the world of Death Stranding so morally grey that today’s friends are tomorrow’s enemies in a literal sense? This answer has only given us more questions to ponder, and we’ll have to wait until November 8th for any of them to start coming together. Ironically, it almost seems as though this was Mads’ way of echoing the ominous quote of his character from the E3 2019 trailer.

I’ll show you the real thing soon.