Depp might return to Fantastic Beasts films, his replacement says


Johnny Depp “might” return to the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after his legal victory against his ex-wife Amber Heard, the actor who replaced him has said.

Mikkelsen replaced Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore in 2020 after Depp was forced to quit when he lost an earlier High Court libel trial against The Sun over the newspaper’s description of him as a “wife beater”.

Speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival, as reported by Deadline, Mikkelsen praised Depp as an “amazing actor” and said taking over the role from him was “very intimidating”.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - 2018. Pic: Warner Bros
Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – 2018. Pic: Warner Bros

Danish actor Mikkelsen made his name playing villains including Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, Kaecilius in the Marvel movie Doctor Strange and Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal.

At 56, he is three years younger than Depp.

Mikkelsen said: “Obviously, well, now the course has changed – he won the suit, the court [case] – so let’s see if he comes back. He might.

“I’m a big fan of Johnny. I think he’s an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job.

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“Having said that, I could not 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. So, yes, it was intimidating.

“His fans were very, very sweet, but they were also very stubborn. I didn’t interact too much with them, but I could understand why they had their hearts broken.”

Mads Mikkelsen in the new Fantastic Beasts film. Pic: Warner Bros
Mikkelsen in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – 2022. Pic: Warner Bros

In June, a court found that a 2018 article Heard wrote for The Washington Post about her alleged experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse was defamatory towards Depp.

The jury of five men and two women reached the verdict unanimously, saying Depp had proven all the elements of defamation.

They also found the majority of Heard’s allegations to be false and felt they conveyed a defamatory implication.

Depp, who sued Heard for $50m (£38.2m), was awarded $10.35m (£8.2m) in damages.

Heard, who counter-sued Depp for $100m (£76.4m), won on one count and was awarded $2m (£1.5m) in damages.

During the trial, the court was told Depp had lost work opportunities and high-profile roles including Jack Sparrow in the sixth Pirates Of The Caribbean film after the accusations.

Johnny Depp as King Louis XV in Jeanne du Barry Pic: Why Not Productions
Depp as King Louis XV in Jeanne du Barry. Pic: Why Not Productions

Earlier this month, Depp revealed his first major acting role since departing Fantastic Beasts, playing King Louis XV in Jeanne Du Barry, directed by French filmmaker Maiwenn.

The historical drama is likely to be released in summer 2023.

Depp is also set to direct his first feature film in 25 years with Modi, about the Italian painter and sculpture Amedeo Modigliani. He will co-produce the film alongside Al Pacino.

Neither Depp nor Warner Brothers, the studio behind Fantastic Beasts, have commented on a possible return to Fantastic Beasts. Sky News has contacted his representative for comment.

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