According to Deadline, Warner Bros. just announced the official casting of Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Gellert Grindelwald, replacing Johnny Depp, who exited the role after losing a libel suit in the UK. Mikkelsen was director David Yates’ top choice, and that choice has now become a reality with Mikkelsen’s confirmation.
The Johnny Depp Controversy
Johnny Depp was asked by Warner Bros to withdraw from the role after he lost legal battle he waged against British tabloid The Sun for describing him as a “wife beater” in articles that covered his marriage to actress Amber Heard. The judge sided with the newspaper.
After shooting one day on site for the film, Depp was asked to leave. He is still being paid for the film, but originally had a five-picture deal with Warner Bros.
Fans have been divided on this, with some outraged that he has been miscast while Heard still gets to keep her role in the Aquaman sequel, since Warner Bros. is the movie studio for both Fantastic Beasts and the DCEU. Others understand why the movie studio made this choice, even though they aren’t thrilled about it.
Why Mikkelsen is a Good Choice
Mikkelsen is no stranger to sinister roles, having played Hannibal Lector on the show Hannibal for three seasons. Depp was competent in the role, but we haven’t seen enough of his version of Grindelwald to properly judge the performance.
He appeared briefly at the end for the first film, and in the second film, I felt he wasn’t able to capture the charismatic nature of Grindelwald. This is a man who convinced so many to follow him, and I think the film didn’t really create much opportunity for Depp to make an impact in the role.
It will be interesting to see how they work the recast into the next film, but since Grindelwald disguised himself in the first film, I don’t think this will be a difficult thing to do.
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