Mads Mikkelsen "shocked" to replace Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts franchise 10 months ago

Mads Mikkelsen "shocked" to replace Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts franchise

"It's obviously super interesting and nice."

Mads Mikkelsen has admitted that he was "shocked" to replace Johnny Depp in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie and ongoing franchise.

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The Danish actor, who is best known for his role in NBC's Hannibal, confirmed the casting this week.

Depp stepped down from the role of Gellert Grindlewald earlier this year after losing his libel battle against The Sun newspaper following his court case against ex-wife Amber Heard.

Mikkelsen told Entertainment Tonight that he was "shocked" to hear he had landed the role.

"Job wise, it's obviously super interesting and nice," he said. "It's also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad. I wish both of them the best. These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon."

Mikkelsen added that the recasting will undoubtedly lead to some changes in the film's script, but that he ultimately wants to build on Depp's character.

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"It's going to be me, so that's a difference," he said. "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 and some bridges so it doesn't completely detach from what he's already masterfully achieved."

Fantastic Beasts 3 had already started production when Depp was removed from the project. He will still be paid in full for his role despite only filming one scene.

"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," he wrote in a statement at the time.

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"The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. 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."

Warner Bros. later confirmed that Depp's character would be recast: "We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022."