Mads Mikkelsen breaks silence on replacing Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts

Mads Mikkelsen has spoken out on taking over from Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3, saying it happened in ‘sad circumstances’.

Johnny, 57, was asked to leave the role – which he has played since 2018 – after losing his libel trial against The Sun’s publishers News Group Newspaper over an article which called him a ‘wife beater’.

The Danish actor, 54, is stepping in as Gellert Grindelwald for the third film in the series.

Mads, who had long been rumoured for the part, is ‘still working out’ how to ‘bridge’ his performance with the former star’s while also putting his own stamp on it.

He told EW.com: ‘We’re still working it out.

‘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.’

He added that there will be ‘a few links’ to Johnny’s Grindelwald so as not to take away from what he did with the character.

The Hannibal star described the role as ‘super interesting and nice’ before wishing Johnny and Aquaman star Amber Heard ‘ the best’.

‘These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon,’ he said.

Johnny left the franchise after the ruling in his libel case in which a judge held that there ‘overwhelming evidence’ he had assaulted Amber, which the Pirates of the Caribbean star denies.

He told his followers on Instagram: ‘In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement.

‘Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

‘Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.’

It was also revealed that Johnny would be paid his full salary for the role, despite only having filmed one scene, due to his ‘pay or play’ contract.

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