Johnny Depp only managed to claim a handful of scenes in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise, Fantastic Beasts. He was the titular antagonist in The Crimes of Grindelwald, a film where he floated through scenes with an air of intensity. But, after a British publication reported he was a “wife-beater” to his ex-wife Amber Heard, he was dragged off the series by Warner Bros.
Last year, it was announced Mikkelsen was taking his place as the legendary genocidal wizard. Fans of both Fantastic Beasts and Depp were not convinced he would be able to take over the role convincingly, and the actor himself has opened up about what went on behind the scenes.
When it was announced Mikkelsen was replacing the Pirates of the Caribbean star, Depp’s fans were not happy. The passionate fanbase exclaimed that he was, in some way, being wronged by Warner Bros for being taken off of the project.
In a new interview, Mikkelsen said of being cast as Grindelwald: “It was quite chaotic.”
Shortly after joining the project he quickly watched the first two Fantastic Beasts movies and read the script for Secrets of Dumbledore.
Mikkelsen noted the series had “a great story”. But, he added, he was very conscious of the performance Depp had already turned in for the series’ previous instalments.
He continued: “You don’t want to copy anything [Depp was] doing – that would be creative suicide. Even if [a role has] been done to perfection, you want to make it your own. But you still have to build some sort of bridge between what came before.”
Mikkelsen reportedly wanted to clear the air with Depp after replacing him, as well.
However, he told The Hollywood Reporter this wasn’t entirely true.
READ MORE: Fantastic Beasts 3 spoiler review: A great cast can’t save this
This was not the first time Grindelwald had changed shape, however.
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Colin Farrell played the villain in disguise before ditching his camouflage and revealing Depp underneath.
This time around, the film did not address Mikkelsen’s arrival – and the actor said that was a conscious choice.
Mikkelsen said not addressing the actor change was “very deliberate”. He added: “Everybody knows why [the actors changed]. The entire world knows why. It would almost be like an Easter egg to reality to point out we swapped actors. Hopefully we drag them in with the first scene and from there they accept this world.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is in cinemas now.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them & Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are available to watch on NOW.