June 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM EDT

Ready to meet the new Dr. Hannibal Lecter?

After a long search, NBC and writer-producer Bryan Fuller have found the star of their upcoming drama series Hannibal.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has landed the coveted role. You may not recognize his name, but we consider the actor a great get. He’s best known as the blood-crying villain Le Chiffre from the James Bond film Casino Royale and was just honored with the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. He also had a supporting role in the Clash of the Titans reboot and was recently offered a villain role in Thor 2.

A couple fairly well known actors were strongly considered for the NBC gig (we’ll be nice and not say who), which depicts the Silence of the Lambs villain in his serial killing prime. By choosing Mikkelsen, Fuller opted for an actor who is lesser known than some of the other names in the mix, but is also potentially more interesting. When casting Lecter, it’s crucial to find an actor who can make the part his own and compete with the Oscar-winning performance of Anthony Hopkins. A familiar face isn’t necessary for the gig, and would likely even be a distraction. Plus, the man’s first name is Mads. How cool is that?

In Fuller’s Hannibal, FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) enlists renowned psychiatrist Dr. Lecter for his assistance solving crimes, not realizing he’s secretly the most monstrous killer of them all. Fuller recently spoke to about the series.

“It’s before he was incarcerated, so he’s more of a peacock,” Fuller says. “There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock’s principle of suspense — show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom. So the audience knows who Hannibal is so we don’t have to overplay his villainy. We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”

Now that Hannibal‘s two starring roles are cast, NBC is expected to quickly fill the supporting parts. Hannibal is a 13-episode series that will likely premiere sometime next season. Martha De Laurentiis (Red Dragon), Sara Colleton (Dexter), Jesse Alexander (Lost), and Katie O’Connell serve as executive producers along with Fuller.

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