An actor being replaced when shooting has already started on a big budget blockbuster is hardly a new phenomenon, and the approach has yielded phenomenal results in the past. Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn was one of the highlights of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while Hugh Jackman owes his entire career to replacing Dougray Scott as Wolverine two weeks after production on X-Men kicked off.
However, it would be fair to say that the circumstances facing Mads Mikkelsen on Fantastic Beasts 3 are a little different. When Johnny Depp was forced to step down as Grindelwald after coming out on the losing end of his libel trial against a British tabloid, the actor’s supporters were furious, and immediately threatened to boycott the third installment in the Wizarding World prequel series.
In any other case, the majority of folks would be more than happy at the prospect of Mikkelsen tackling a major villainous role, but the 55 year-old now faces an uphill battle to win over Depp’s loyal and ferociously dedicated fanbase. Warner Bros. will surely be hoping that the furor dies down by the time Fantastic Beasts 3 arrives in 2022, and in a recent interview, the Hannibal star reflected on his first week working on the movie, saying:
“I’ve been here for a week now, they are fantastic, nice people. David Yates is a fantastic, super nice, wonderful director. So far, it’s been great.”
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Mikkelsen was then asked if he’d spoken to his predecessor about inheriting the role of the franchise’s main antagonist, and even though he hasn’t, he’s looking to bridge the gap between the two different interpretations of Grindelwald.
“No, I met him once, I wish I had his phone number but unfortunately that’s not the case. There’s nothing else I can do. Ideally, the approach I can have is to connect the bridge between what he did and what I’m going to do, and we’ll see where it lands.”
The actor has certainly had to jump in at the deep end, with Fantastic Beasts 3 having commenced filming in the middle of September, but he’s a more than capable enough talent to step into Johnny Depp’s shoes, regardless of how many people are refusing to accept him as Grindelwald.