Mads Mikkelsen Says Taking Over Johnny Depp’s ‘Fantastic Beast’ Role Will Be ‘Tricky’

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Mads Mikkelsen knows that replacing Johnny Depp as dark wizard Gellert Grindlewald in Fantastic Beasts will be “tricky.” The actor spoke about the recasting for the first time in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, teasing how his take will be different.

“Well, it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference,” he told EW.

Mikkelsen noted that they are still working out exactly how he will take over. “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,” he explained. “We have to find a few links [to Depp’s version of the character] and some bridges, so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”

Depp was “asked to resign” from the Fantastic Beasts franchise in November after losing a libel suit against a U.K. publication that referred to the actor as a “wife beater” in discussing his relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard. Mikkelsen’s casting was announced shortly thereafter.

“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.”

Production on Fantastic Beasts was unaffected by Depp’s recasting, as the actor had completed one day’s work ahead of his departure. Earlier this month, ET spoke with co-star Jude Law, who plays young Albus Dumbledore, about the recasting.

“In a situation like this, you defer to the studio. That’s all you can do. Because you have to turn up and play your part,” Law said. “In a franchise like this, it’s the studio and the company that make the big decisions, and you have to go along with those, because we’re just a member of the team.”

The third Fantastic Beasts film is slated to hit theaters in 2022.

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