Mads Mikkelsen has said he would have ‘loved to have talked to’ Johnny Depp about replacing him in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Actor Mads, 55, is taking over the role of Gellert Grindelwald from Pirates of the Caribbean star Depp, 58, after he exited the film series earlier this year when he lost his libel trial against The Sun newspaper.
The Sun branded him a ‘wife-beater’ due to allegations about his marriage to Amber Heard – and though Mads is aware the casting reshuffle was ‘controversial’, he’s tried to pay no attention to the speculation surrounding his predecessor.
Conversation: Mads Mikkelsen, left, has said he would have ‘loved to have talked to’ Johnny Depp, right, about replacing him in the Fantastic Beasts franchise
Speaking to The Times’ Saturday Review, Mads said: ‘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.
‘But 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.’
Mads wanted to put his own take on playing Grindelwald as he thinks it would be ‘creative suicide’ to just mimic Johnny’s performance.
Role: Depp is pictured as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
He said: ‘I didn’t want to copy what Johnny had done. I think he’s a masterful actor, so copying him would’ve been creative suicide. I had to figure out something that was definitely my own, and yet also act as a bridge to what he had done.
‘My take is different, and the look is a little different, but we’ll have to wait for the film’s release [next year] to find out.’
DailyMail.com reported last month that a bitter defamation lawsuit is now brewing between Depp and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after documents revealed the non-profit’s staff penned the explosive domestic violence op-ed at the centre of the actor’s $50million libel suit against ex-wife Heard.
A trove of emails seen by DailyMail.com suggest Heard, 35, had minimal input in the December 2018 article which was written by an ACLU strategist then submitted to her for approval.
The draft went through multiple legal revisions, with Heard’s lawyer anxious not to mention Depp by name or breach a non-disclosure agreement in the former couple’s $7million divorce settlement.
Own take: Mads wanted to put his own take on playing Grindelwald as he thinks it would be ‘creative suicide’ to just mimic Johnny’s performance
But when it appeared in the Washington Post, Depp sued instead for libel, arguing the 1,000-word essay – entitled: ‘I spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture’s wrath’ – was a clear reference to their failed marriage and falsely labelled him an abuser.
Three years on, the ACLU’s involvement is threatening to drag the nonprofit deeper into the toxic lawsuit. Depp’s lawyers hint it could even see them added as a defendant.
‘This new trove of emails finally proves one of the things the ACLU has fought for years to hide: they wrote Amber Heard’s false op-ed for her and were co-conspirators with Ms Heard from the start,’ Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman told DailyMail.com.
‘Those who scheme, write and publish defamation, even purported free speech advocates, are not immune from the consequences.’
Heard and Depp met a decade ago on the set of The Rum Diary back and married four years later before a now-infamous blowout fight ended their marriage in May 2016.
They agreed to a $7million divorce settlement in August of that year when Heard vowed to give the windfall to charity, splitting it between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Back in January, however, DailyMail.com revealed correspondence between Heard and hospital management suggesting she gave them only $100,000 – way short of the promised $3.5million ‘gift’.
The ACLU was subpoenaed for the same information but has thus far refused to cooperate with multiple subpoenas.
Heard’s lawyer said she intended to fulfil her pledge ‘eventually’, blaming her expensive legal battles with Depp for the delay.
The Virginia case won’t go before a jury until next year because of a backlog of trials caused by the pandemic.
Exes: Depp and Amber Heard met a decade ago on the set of The Rum Diary back and married four years later before a now-infamous blowout fight ended their marriage in May 2016