Mads Mikkelsen Says Copying Depp Would Be “Creative Suicide”

It was November 2020 when it was first confirmed Mads Mikkelsen would be replacing Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, the character who would charm his followers into supporting horrific prejudice toward Muggles and Muggle-borns in Fantastic Beasts 3. How will Mikkelsen portray the pre-Voldemort villain Gellert Grindelwald? When speaking about his role as Grindelwald with the Wall Street Journal, Mikkelsen mentioned that he is not going to copy the performance of Depp.

I don’t feel constrained at all. I think it would be creative suicide if I tried to copy what Johnny did. It’s also very specific. He’s a wonderful actor [whom] nobody can copy, so trying to would be insane. Obviously, I have to find my own path.

Mikkelsen even spoke of his portrayal’s being a bridge between his and Depp’s interpretations in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Well, it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference. No, this is the tricky part. 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.

In Casino Royale, Hannibal, and new film Chaos Walking, with Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, Mikkelsen does really well depicting a true bad guy. His small role as the corrupt accountant in Rihanna’s music video for “Bitch Better Have My Money” even gained him brownie points from his children.

Yes, I was the bitch. But I never knew quite why or how I became the bitch. That made me go off on the cool meter among my kids. Bond—fine, OK. Star Wars movie—kind of OK. But working with Rihanna—just top-notch. You know, I might need to get in another video soon.

Mikkelsen’s versatility shows in his foreign films. But he also understands that being typecast as a baddie is a risk in Hollywood.

If that’s what’s coming from there, I’m game. I’ve got lots of other things going on for me in Europe. But it would be interesting if they opened their eyes a little more.

Of course, we relish Mikkelsen as the big baddie. But a lot of his work is far from being a villain. Mikkelsen’s start to his career was a lot more lovable. It started with dance. Mikkelsen, at a young age, was a trained gymnast. His impressive tumbling led him to show off his tricks onstage in musicals. The theater introduced him to the world of dance. He danced professionally for eight years, studying in New York at the Martha Graham School. Even when moving back to Denmark, he still participated in theater, which then led to the Danish National School of Performing Arts.

Mikkelsen uses his talent of dance in his most recent film, Another Round, in the final scene. You can watch the trailer for Another Round and his new film, Chaos Walking, coming out March 5, below.




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Jillian Loveday

I grew alongside Harry since I was 12 years old. It is such a treat to be a part of the best book club any Harry Potter fan could ask for. I graduated in 2016 with a Creative Writing degree and since then I have been doing freelance writing on the side. Outside of the literary world, I love the outdoors, hiking, and binge-watching Parks and Rec for the billionth time.