The next Fantastic Beasts movie has been dealing with more than its share of ups and downs, and most of them have nothing to do with the pandemic, though that certainly had an impact as well. The much bigger change came when it was announced that Johnny Depp was asked to exit his role as the franchise villain, Grindelwald, which was followed shortly thereafter by the news that part was being taken up by Mads Mikkelsen. The decision to replace Depp was certainly a talking point, and Mikkelsen is now in the middle of all that by virtue of taking the part, and the actor has now shared his view on taking the "controversial" role.
Speaking with The Times in the UK, Mads Mikkelsen accepts that his decision to take the part being vacated by Johnny Depp may have been a controversial decision, but he says the drama surrounding Depp's departure had no impact on making the choice. He was simply offered a role in a movie he thought looked good and so he took it. According to Mikkelsen...
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.
The announcement that Johnny Depp was leaving Fantastic Beasts 3 came shortly after a jury in the U.K. did not take his side in a libel case against a newspaper that had referred to the actor in its pages as a "wife-beater." Following that decision Warner Bros. asked Depp to step down from the role, and he agreed to do so.
With the circumstances being what they were, and the fact being that Johnny Depp still enjoys a great deal of public support, it wouldn't have been that surprising if the producers had had difficulty filling the hole in the cast, but Mads Mikkelsen came on board relatively quickly. For his part, the Casino Royale actor says that he doesn't have an opinion on Depp or the circumstances surrounding his departure. He simply saw a movie with a part that was available, that was going to go forward with or without him, and so he took the part. Mikkelsen continues...
I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more. 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.
This certainly isn't the first time that we've seen an actor take a role after outside forces pushes a movie to go in another direction. In more than one case we've seen an actor's entire performance reshot to take them out of the film. In this case, it seems that Johnny Depp only filmed a single scene before moving on.
In the end, Mads Mikkelsen clearly sees this as nothing more than a movie role he was interested in. While his performance will certainly be compared to Johnny Depp's when this movie is released, nobody has ever claimed Mikkelsen isn't a great actor, and an especially great villain. He took the role for its own sake. We'll see if the fans judge him in the same way.