Upon confirming that critically acclaimed Danish actor (and once talented gymnast/ballet dancer) Mads Mikkelsen is the next to take up the proverbial mantle of the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, we now hear from the actor himself, who has been playing Grindelwald for a week now. Singing his praises for the cast, crew and director of the third (yet-to-be-named) film in the Fantastic Beast franchise, the 55-year-old told the Associated Press:
“They’re fantastic, nice people. David is a fantastic, super nice, wonderful director. So far it’s been great.”
The one person he doesn’t seem to have much to say about, though, is the actor who’d previously embodied and brought the complicated character of Grindelwald to life – Johnny Depp.
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Despite Depp having played the character of Grindelwald for two films now, Mikkelsen has yet to talk to him about the villainous wizard. He stated:
“No, I don’t know him. I met him once. I wish I had his phone number but unfortunately, that’s not the case. “
But, maybe he won’t need to talk to Depp. After all, Mikkelsen is a highly acclaimed actor in his own right. Despite having to take over from someone else mid-series, Mikkelsen doesn’t necessarily need to play the character the way Depp has – and this echoes his sentiment. According to CinemaBlend, Mikkelson had this to say when asked how his ‘Grindelwald’ would differ from Depps:
“Well, it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference. We’re still working it out. 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.”
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Mikkelsen, who has also been seen in ‘Rogue One’, ‘Doctor Strange’ and – most notably – Hannibal, took over from Johnny Depp after the latter was asked to leave the franchise. Depp announced his departure in a statement posted on Instagram following his loss in the libel suit against the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, which called him a “wife-beater” in coverage of his legal disputes with his ex-wife Amber Heard. In his statement, Depp shared:
“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. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
And with filming ongoing, it looks like Mikkelsen is here to stay. So, whether or not you think he deserves to take over as the iconic villain – you’ll get to cast your vote when the movie is released on July 15, 2022.
*Cover image credits: Instagram / @yesuzb_marvel_dc