Amidst the court battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, the actor was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore as Gellert Grindelwald. The Danish actor received an Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival for all of his contributions to film. At the award show’s side event, Coffee With…, the actor opened up about a lot, specifically about replacing one of the biggest stars in the world for a blockbuster Harry Potter spinoff.
“It was very intimidating,” he said. “I think he’s an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job. Having said that, I could not copy it, because it’s so much him. 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.”
When it comes to replacing a star like that, Mads Mikkelsen had to face the original actor’s fans when taking on the role. He found them to be “sweet” but “also very stubborn.” The Hannibal actor kept his distance, and he understood that “they had their hearts broken.”
Mads Mikkelsen talked about replacing Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts
Since the film was released, Johnny Depp won the court case, which might make some wonder where his career will go from here. Mads Mikkelsen was unsure but said that “he might” and that we need to “see if he comes back.”
While a bigger name over in his homeland of Denmark, Mads Mikkelsen has found great success in America, mostly as a villain. His start in America got its big break as the antagonist in Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond in 2008’s Casino Royale. He also played Hannibal Lector in Hannibal, which unfortunately was canceled after three seasons. More blockbusters arrived for him with Rogue One and the first Doctor Strange.
As Mads Mikkelsen talked about the casting shakeup on the set of Fantastic Beasts that landed him his role, he talked about doing blockbuster films with gigantic sets and heavy use of green screens. While known for smaller, intimate Danish films like Another Round to something like Doctor Strange, he likes finding a balance to do both. He also finds the latter to be “real acting,” while the former is “re-acting.”
“Now, only doing [blockbusters] might not be enough for me, so, luckily, I can luckily go back and forth. Having said that, acting in front of a green screen, fighting a giant scorpion that is not there, is real acting, you know? Sitting in a kitchen, having a dialogue with someone is more re-acting. You actually use your imagination when you work with a green screen—there’s a lot of acting in that.”
When it comes to American blockbusters, he will star with Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Indiana Jones 5.