It’s official: Mads Mikkelsen will be stepping into the shoes of villainous Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie after Johnny Depp’s resignation from the film.
On Nov. 25, Warner Bros. announced in a press release that the Danish actor has been cast as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming sequel, which is currently in production in the U.K.
Following news that his casting was confirmed, Mikkelsen broke his silence about the role in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, and responded to a question about how his take on Grindelwald will be different than Depp’s.
“Well it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference,” he joked before getting serious.
“No, this is the tricky part. We’re still working it out,” he explained. “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.”
He also commented on the dramatic circumstances that led to him landing the role.
“Job-wise, it’s obviously super interesting and nice,” Mikkelsen said. “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.”
Deadline was the first to report that the “Hannibal” star was at the top of a short list of actors to be cast in the role for the upcoming sequel to the “Harry Potter” spin-off.
According to Deadline, Mikkelsen was the No. 1 choice of “Fantastic Beasts” director David Yates after Depp dropped out; Depp’s exit came at the request of the studio when he lost a high-profile libel claim against a British tabloid that described him as a “wife beater.”
Depp was reportedly asked to step down after just one day of shooting (although he’ll be paid his full salary).
“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,” Depp wrote in a letter he posted to Instagram.
Due to the recasting, the movie’s release date has been pushed back from November 2021 to July 2022.
When asked about the report last week, Mikkelsen was apparently playing coy when he told IGN the whole thing was just a rumour.
“Oh, that is on the rumour basis as we speak,” he told the publication. “So I know as much as you do from the newspapers. So I’m waiting for that phone call.”