Mads Mikkelsen Discusses Hurried and Controversial Cast Change for Grindelwald Role

The Fantastic Beasts movies have had their fair share of cast scandals, but the silver lining is that we get to see new talent step into magical roles. Filming for the third installment of the franchise is well underway with Mads Mikkelsen having taken over from Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, the only wizard who is Dumbledore’s (Jude Law) equal. While Mikkelsen has stated that copying Depp would be “creative suicide,” he also told EW that he wishes he could have discussed the character with his predecessor.

The Danish-born actor and star of the Academy- and BAFTA-winning feature film Another Round doesn’t find playing Grindelwald daunting, exactly. However, given the haste with which Warner Bros. needed to fill the incredibly important role of the Dark wizard, he was left with professional carte blanche.

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.

Scandal or not, the show must go on. Such a big-budget production, which will delight us with an epic battle scene, requires a practical approach indeed. “I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously, he [Depp] was not involved anymore,” Mikkelsen told The Sunday Times. It’s not that he was starstruck, but his career path has not crossed that of Depp enough to be able to just ring him for a chat about Harry Potter or other, more personal matters to do with Depp’s departure.

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.

Fantastic Beasts is not the only massive franchise that Mikkelsen has joined. He will appear in Indiana Jones 5, which is set to be released next summer. And still, Mikkelsen is pretty cool about working alongside such a living legend as Harrison Ford.

The more you’ve been in the movie business, the less you find yourself wearing your ‘fan hat’, and yet in this case it was there for a little while longer than most. It helps that Harrison is a really sweet man and that everyone on set is aware that we are there, primarily, to do an Indiana Jones film.

We are definitely eager to see Mikkelsen’s fresh, new take on the notorious and powerful Gellert Grindelwald in the next Fantastic Beasts movie, set for a July 2022 release.


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Dora Bodrogi

I am a writer, a critic, a researcher, a traveler, and a Ravenclaw through and through. My main fields of interest are representation, gender, and LGBTQ fiction, history, and censorship. Incorrigible doodler and theatre kid.

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