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Mads Mikkelsen Dishes On His First Week As Grindelwald

Grindelwald has returned to the Wizarding World. Mads Mikkelsen has officially started portraying the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming as-yet-untitled third Fantastic Beasts film. The Danish actor has taken over the role from fallen star Johnny Depp, who was fired from the film in November after he lost a libel suit against the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, which called him a "wife beater" in coverage of his legal disputes with his ex-wife Amber Heard (via The Guardian).

Mikkelsen, who has also been seen in Rogue One, Doctor Strange, and the cult favorite TV series Hannibal, has started filming his part in the repeatedly delayed David Yates-directed Harry Potter spinoff, and is having a good time working on the film so far, he told the Associated Press.

"It's great! I've been here for a week now," Mikkeslsen told the wire service in a brief interview. "They're fantastic, nice people. David is a fantastic, super nice, wonderful director. So far it's been great."

Mads Mikkelsen doesn't know Johnny Depp

Mikkelsen says he hasn't spoken to Depp about the switch. "I don't know him," Mikkelsen told the AP. "I met him once. I wish I had his phone number, but unfortunately that's not the case." Mikkelsen's take on the dark wizard will be completely his own, out of necessity. "There's nothing else I can do, to be honest," Mikkelsen said. "The only approach I can have is, like, connect the bridge between what he did and what I'm going to do and then we'll see what it is."

Depp played Grindelwald, the fearsome Austrian dark wizard who's second only to Voldemort in the amount of destruction and terror he inflicted on the Wizarding World. Depp's casting in the family film franchise was controversial from the start, as Heard's allegations of abuse against the actor were known at the time he was tapped for the role in the first Fantastic Beasts film. Harry Potter creator and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter and producer J.K. Rowling defended his casting, and Depp remained in the franchise, but after British Justice Andrew Nicol ruled in November that "the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard," Depp was quickly dropped from the third sequel. Mikkselsen was cast shortly thereafter.

Mikkelsen plans to bridge the gap

Mikkelsen's comments to the AP about his take on Grindelwald echo what he said in the first interview he gave after being cast in the film. "We're still working it out," Mikkelsen told Entertainment Weekly at the time. "There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I'm going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links and some bridges so it doesn't completely detach from what he's already masterfully achieved."

Fans are excited to see what Mikkeslsen brings to the role, with some even arguing that he should have been the actor picked to play Grindelwald in the first place. No one has any doubt that the renowned actor is great for the part. We'll see his interpretation of Grindelwald when the third Fantastic Beasts film comes out. Its release is scheduled for July 15, 2022.