Nine times out of ten, fans would be thrilled at the prospect of Mads Mikkelsen joining the Wizarding World to play a villain, when the actor has shot to worldwide prominence as a string of darkly sinister and undeniably charismatic antagonists. Unfortunately, this time he was replacing Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald for Fantastic Beasts 3, and people were not happy about it.
Having been forced to resign after coming out on the losing end of a libel trial opposite a British tabloid, the former Pirates of the Caribbean star was dropped from another high-paying franchise gig, although he did pocket a reported $16 million payday for one day of shooting, so there was at least a lucrative silver lining.
Depp’s fans have been threatening to boycott Fantastic Beasts 3, putting Mikkelsen in an unenviable position. Of course, the man is a professional and will do the job to the best of his ability regardless of what his detractors have to say, and in a new interview he revealed that he wanted to speak to his predecessor before assuming the mantle of Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore’s arch-nemesis, but he felt as though he didn’t know him well enough to reach out.
“I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more. 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. 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. 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. 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 to find out.”
That’s an understandable approach from the Hannibal actor, who wanted to show respect but was hardly keen on the idea of calling up Johnny Depp and asking for any pointers about taking the role he’d essentially been fired from. It’s a tough situation without a doubt, and Fantastic Beasts 3 is shaping up to be the pivotal moment for the planned five-film series after The Crimes of Grindelwald scored the worst critical and commercial performance of any Wizarding World blockbuster to date.