Mads Mikkelsen on playing Grindelwald: ‘Don’t know if it was fair that Johnny Depp lost the job’

Mikkelsen was tapped in as Depp’s replacement after the American actor lost a major libel suit relating to abuse allegations by former wife Amber Heard

Danish star Mads Mikkelsen says he wishes he could have spoken to Johnny Depp about stepping in to play the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald following his exit from the upcoming third film in the fantasy film series “Fantastic Beasts”.

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Mikkelsen was tapped in as Depp’s replacement after the American actor lost a major libel suit relating to abuse allegations by former wife, actor Amber Heard against a UK newspaper last November.

Though he doesn’t know if Depp losing the role was fair, Mikkelsen said he knew the third film was still on track.

“I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more,” the “Another Round” star said of Depp.

“But I didn’t have a dog in that fight. And I don’t know what happened (in his private life), and 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,” Mikkelsen, 55, told The Times.

The actor, known for Hollywood films “Casino Royale” and “Doctor Strange”, and Danish movies “The Hunt” and “Pusher”, was rumoured to be playing Grindelwald in the yet-to-be-titled “Fantastic Beasts 3” late last year. The studio Warner Bros Pictures confirmed his casting a week after the reports surfaced online.

The makers were in a “hurry” to get the project going, said Mikkelsen.

“But they called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script and so said yes. And I know it was controversial for many people, but that’s just the way it plays out once in a while,” he continued.

The actor reiterated that he wants to add his own touch to the character of Grindelwald while retaining a few links with how Depp played the role.

“I didn’t want to copy what Johnny had done. I think he’s a masterful actor, so copying him would’ve been creative suicide,” he said.

“I had to figure out something that was definitely my own, and yet also act as a bridge to what he had done. My take is different, and the look is a little different, but we’ll have to wait for the film’s release (next year) to find out,” he added.

Mikkelsen is currently working on “Indian Jones 5”. Fronted by Hollywood veteran Harrison Ford, the fifth film in the popular action adventure franchise is set to be released in the summer of 2022.

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