Mads Mikkelsen says replacing Johnny Depp following the embattled actor’s firing from Fantastic Beasts 3 (2022) was no easy task. Mikkelsen shared his conflicting feelings over Johnny Depp’s departure from the Warner Bros. Harry Potter spinoff franchise in a new interview.
Mads Mikkelsen, known for his roles in hit movies Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Marvel’s Doctor Strange (2016) was announced as the replacement for Johnny Depp in the role of Gellert Grindelwald following Depp’s departure from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. On the heels of Depp’s very public legal battles and swirling controversy with ex-wife actress Amber Heard, Warner Bros. acted quickly to relive Depp of his Grindelwald duties once he lost a libel case in the United Kingdom the actor brought against News Group Newspaper publication The Sun.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mads Mikkelsen described how quickly everything happened with his casting as Depp’s replacement in the film series inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe characters. The Casino Royale (2006) James Bond villain actor says he was aware of the controversy surrounding Depp, but accepted the task nonetheless:
“They [Warner Bros.] called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script so said yes. And I know it was controversial for many people but that’s just the way it plays out once in awhile.”
Mikkelsen went on to say that the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy — and sequel to 2018’s Crimes of Grindelwald — was unequivocally moving forward without actor Johnny Depp, forcing him to make a decision quickly without speaking to Johnny Depp. As many Johnny Depp fans have remained ardent supporters of the actor following his Fantastic Beasts firing, and his being stripped of the famous Captain Jack Sparrow role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the casting of Depp’s replacement was a controversial decision.
Mikkelson acknowledged that he was conflicted, not knowing exactly what had gone on between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, saying:
“…obviously they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved anymore… I don’t know if it was fair, him losing the job, but I just knew that the show was going on, and I would’ve loved to have talked to him about it if I had the chance, but I just don’t know him in that sense.”
Johnny Depp, the legendary actor who made Captain Jack Sparrow an iconic figure for Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, announced his hasty departure from Fantastic Beasts with an Instagram post in 2018, informing fans that Warner Bros. wanted to cut ties, saying:
“I wish to let you know that i have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
Mikkelsen, currently shooting Indiana Jones 5 with Harrison Ford, says he plans to bring something new to Depp’s former role of Grindelwald, while respecting what the actor has brought to the table. Mikkelsen described the thin line he had to walk in embracing the Harry Potter prequel role once occupied by the unquestionably talented, Oscar-nominated Depp, saying,
“I think he’s a masterful actor, so copying him would’ve been creative suicide. I had to figure out something that was definitely my own, and yet also act as a bridge to what he had done.”
Johnny Depp’s career and personal life have been in turmoil ever since allegations of domestic abuse were levied against the actor by his ex-wife actress Amber Heard. The libel case in question that ultimately sealed actor Johnny Depp’s exit from Fantastic Beasts was a suit that Depp brought against British tabloid newspaper The Sun publisher. Depp accused the The Sun of character defamation over a 2018 article with the headline “How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” The libel trial ultimately went against Depp, with the court ultimately refusing to hear the actor’s appeal to clear his name of domestic violence charges against Amber Heard.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 3 is due to hit theaters July 15, 2022.
Do you think Johnny Depp deserved to be fired from Fantastic Beasts 3? Do you think Mads Mikkelsen is a suitable replacement? Let us know in the comments!