Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is pondering whether Johnny Depp might eventually rejoin the Fantastic Beasts franchise, despite Depp’s legal woes involving abuse allegations from ex-wife Amber Heard.
In the wake of the accusations against Depp, Mikkelsen took over the role of Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which was released this past March as the third Harry Potter prequel.
Speaking at the Saravejo Film Festival, where he received the honorary Heart of Sarajevo award, Mikkelsen told Deadline it was “very intimidating” to assume the role that Depp had originated.
“Obviously, well, now the course has changed—he won the suit…so let’s see if he comes back. He might. I’m a big fan of Johnny. I think he’s an amazing actor. I think he did a fantastic job.”
In published interviews, Mikkelsen went on to describe his feelings about taking on the Grindelwald role: “There was no way I could just copy it, because it’s so much him [Depp]. It would be creative suicide. So, we had to come up with something else, something that was mine, and build a bridge between him and me. So, yes, it was intimidating. His fans were very, very sweet, but they were also very stubborn. I didn’t interact too much with them, but I could understand why they had their hearts broken.”
Mikkelsen had earlier credited Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver as having a life-changing influence on his career. He made his film debut in 1996 in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher. The actor described that period as a crucial turning-point in Danish cinema. “Looking back, it was obviously wonderful,” he said, “but when I was in the middle of it, it seemed only natural—this was just what we did. There was a whole generation of filmmakers on either side of the camera who wanted to change Danish cinema.”
Mikkelsen attracted the notice of U.S. studios after his 2006 appearance as James Bond’s nemesis Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, after which he was quoted as saying he had to “kick the shit out of Bond’s balls.” He was more recently acclaimed for his role as Hannibal Lecter in the Hannibal TV series (2013-2015, and for the role of Kaecilius in Dr Strange (2016).
Currently, three of Mikkelsen’s films are in post-production: The Billion Dollar Spy, King’s Land, and Indiana Jones 5.