Mads Mikkelsen has spoken for the first time about his “shocker” replacement of Johnny Depp in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film.
The Danish actor was confirmed for the role of Gellert Grindelwald in November, just a few weeks after Depp lost his high-profile libel trial against The Sun newspaper and was forced to quit the franchise.
Mikkelsen, 55, is known for playing serial killer Hannibal Lecter in US television series Hannibal, as well as other villains such as Le Chiffre in James Bond film Casino Royale and Kaecilius in Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
Speaking to US site Entertainment Weekly (EW), the actor said he was working on making the role in the Harry Potter prequel spin-off his own.
“It’s going to be me, so that’s a difference,” he joked when asked how his take on the character of Grindelwald will differ from Depp’s, before becoming serious.
“No, this is the tricky part,” he said. “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.”
The upcoming Fantastic Beasts film is the third in the series, with Depp having played Grindelwald in the first two.
He had been due to reprise the role until the judgment in his libel trial was revealed.
Depp, pictured outside court in London in the summer, was told he had lost his libel case in November
More than three months after the end of the three-week High Court hearing in London, the judge released his ruling at the beginning of November, finding claims that Depp assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard to be “substantially true”.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean star has since been refused permission to appeal the ruling.
Asked about his reaction to getting the role, Mikkelsen told EW: “Job wise, it’s obviously super interesting and nice.
“It’s also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad. I wish both of them the best. These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon.”
Fantastic Beasts 3 has been delayed due to COVID-19 as well as the Depp court case, and is now set for release in July 2022.
Filming is underway in the UK, with Eddie Redmayne starring again as Newt Scamander, Jude Law playing a young Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter author JK Rowling co-writing the script.