"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," Mads Mikkelsen said of the role

By Jen Juneau
December 03, 2020 11:22 AM
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Mads Mikkelsen (L); Johnny Depp
| Credit: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Mads Mikkelsen is breaking his silence surrounding his new role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3.

One week after E! News confirmed the actor, 55, had taken over the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise following Johnny Depp's exit, Mikkelsen spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the difference between their portrayals of the wizard antagonist.

"Well it's going to be me, so that's a difference," he joked, before adding in all seriousness, "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," Mikkelsen added.

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Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
| Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock
Mads Mikkelsen
| Credit: Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Depp stepped down from the film last month, after losing a libel lawsuit involving his ex-wife Amber Heard. E! News confirmed on Nov. 25 that Mikkelsen had taken over as Grindelwald for the third film in the series.

Mikkelsen will be the third actor to portray the wizard in the franchise, following Colin Farrell in the first movie (who played a disguised version of the villain) and Depp, 57, who played the role in a small portion of the first film, as well as in the second.

Speaking with EW, Mikkelsen said that "job wise," his new venture into the Harry Potter universe is "super interesting and nice."

"It's also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad," added the Rogue One actor. "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."

The Fantastic Beasts films follow Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald more than 60 years before the events of the original Harry Potter book/film series.

Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
| Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

RELATED VIDEO: Johnny Depp Agrees to Resign from Fantastic Beasts Role After Losing "Wife Beater" Libel Case

On Nov. 6, Depp posted a letter on Instagram announcing that he had agreed to step down from the villainous role days after losing his U.K. libel case against The Sun newspaper.

"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp wrote. "Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days."

He continued, "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."

Depp had sued The Sun over a story that described him as a "wife-beater" during his marriage to Heard, 34 — allegations of which surfaced in 2016. Despite those claims, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling vehemently defended Depp and his casting in the franchise in 2017.

And though the actor has left the film series, Depp will reportedly still receive his full eight-figure salary, according to The Hollywood Reporter.