Mads Mikkelsen Says Johnny Depp “Might” Return to His ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Role

What will Hollywood do about Johnny Depp after his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard? That’s a question Mads Mikkelsen, who replaced Depp in the fantastic beasts franchise’s third film, recently addressed while accepting an award at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Depp resigned from his role as Gellert Grindelwald ahead of this year’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, following his loss in a 2020 libel case against British tabloid The Sun. He was replaced by Mikkelsen, although Depp reportedly would still receive his full $16 million salary for the third film.

“It was very intimidating,” Mikkelsen said of assuming Depp’s role, according to Deadline. “Obviously, well, now the course has changed—he won the suit, the court [case]—so let’s see if he comes back. He might.” (A jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages—in Virginia, however, punitive payments are capped at $350,000—in a second court case over Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she identified herself as a domestic abuse survivor, but did not name Depp as her abuser. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages in her countersuit against Depp.)

In addition to suggesting Depp’s return to the role, Mikkelsen discussed his alternate approach to their shared character. “I’m a big fan of Johnny,” he said. “I think he’s an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job. Having said that, I couldn’t copy it. There was no way I could just 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.”

Despite the fact that Depp has discussed “Hollywood’s boycott” of him, the actor is set to play King Louis XV in the French-language film La Favorite and his impassioned fan base has called for him to be reinstated in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. “His fans were very, very sweet, but they were also very stubborn,” Mikkelsen continued. “I didn’t interact too much with them, but I could understand why they had their hearts broken.”

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