Mads Mikkelsen has admitted that he wanted to talk to Johnny Depp before taking over his role in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The Another Round actor will replace Depp as Gellert Grindlewald in the upcoming third installment of the film series, following his hasty exit in November last year.
Depp was asked to step down from his role in the childrens’ fantasy series after losing a libel trial against The Sun where he was labelled a ‘wife-beater’.
Mikkelsen is clearly aware of the uproar surrounding his casting, particularly given the reasons behind Depp’s withdrawal from the series – and wished he had the opportunity to speak to his fellow actor before taking it on.
The actor told The Times’ Saturday Review : “I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved anymore. 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.”
Pirates Of The Caribbean star Depp has always maintained that he was not abusive in his relationship with ex-wife, Aquaman star Amber Heard.
In November, he released a statement thanking fans for their support in light of the allegations made against him, but said he respected the wishes of Warner Bros asking him to remove himself from the project.
The message read: “In the light of recent events, I would like to make the following statement.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.
“I have been humbled and moved by many of your 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.
“Finally, I wish to say this.
“The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.
“My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.
“Thank you for reading.”
A petition from Depp’s fanbase soon picked up steam, with more than 130,000 fans quickly signing the call for him to be reinstated , believing him to be innocent.
It now stands at 263,000 signatures.
Mikkelsen was announced as his replacement in December , and 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 [to the previous version of the character] and some bridges so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”