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Mads Mikkelsen Says Replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald Is Tricky: There Must Be Links Between Us

Mikkelsen says Johnny Depp "masterfully achieved" the character of Grindelwald.

Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen, Johnny Depp in “Fantastic Beasts”

Everett Collection/Warner Bros.

Mads Mikkelsen has broken his silence on replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie, which is now back in production in the United Kingdom. Depp appeared as the villain in the first two “Fantastic Beasts” films but exited the franchise last month after losing his libel lawsuit against U.K. publication The Sun, which alleged Depp was abusive towards ex-wife and actress Amber Heard. Warner Bros. confirmed November 25 that Mikkelsen would be the franchise’s new Grindelwald.

“Well it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference,” Mikkelsen told Entertainment Weekly about replacing Depp. “No, this is the tricky part. We’re still working it out. There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I’m going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links [to the previous version of the character] and some bridges so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”

Depp shot only one scene as Grindelwald for “Fantastic Beasts 3,” but the actor will still receive his full eight-figure salary for the sequel due to a clause in his contract. Mikkelsen is no stranger to Hollywood tentpoles having played a supporting role in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the villain in “Doctor Strange,” nor is he a stranger to franchises with passionate fan followings considering his role as the title character on “Hannibal.”

“Job wise, it’s obviously super interesting and nice,” Mikkelsen said of signing on for the new “Fantastic Beasts” movie. “It’s also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad. I wish [Depp and Heard] the best. These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon.”

Mikkelsen is currently making the press rounds in support of his lead role in Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” which is Denmark’s official Oscar submission in the 2021 race for Best International Feature Film. “Another Round” was named an official selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and screened at NYFF and TIFF.

Warner Bros. has set a theatrical opening of July 15, 2022 for “Fantastic Beasts 3.”

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