Mads Mikkelsen 'in talks' to replace Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3

Mads Mikkelsen is reportedly in talks to replace Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Depp, 57, has resigned from the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off, after being asked to do so by Warner Bros following his loss in his libel trial against The Sun.

According to Deadline, Danish actor Mikkelsen is in early talks to take over the role, as Warner Bros rush to keep production on track.

The 54-year-old is reportedly the top choice for director David Yates, and is at the top of the list of actors being considered to play Grindelwald.

Mikkelsen is best known for playing villain Le Chiffre in Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film Casino Royale and Dr Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal, as well as roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Doctor Strange and The Hunt.

Most recently, he wrapped filming on the sci-fi film Chaos Walking alongside Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Nick Jonas and Cynthia Erivo.

Fans had thrown their support behind Colin Farrell to take the role of Grindelwald, as the Irish actor played the wizard in the first film, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, before he was revealed to be Depp in disguise.

However, Farrell is still filming The Batman, playing The Penguin, so would be unavailable even if the studio wanted him to reprise the role.

Grindelwald is a dark wizard and friend and love interest of Albus Dumbledore, and was the main antagonist in the second film, The Crimes Of Grindelwald, after Depp was unveiled as the wizard at the end of the first film.

There had been controversy when the actor was revealed to have been cast as Grindelwald in the films, after his ex-wife Amber Heard alleged he had been violent towards her during their marriage.

In a handwritten statement last week, the Pirates Of The Caribbean star confirmed he was leaving the franchise, after a judge ruled in favour of The Sun, who referred to him as a ‘wife-beater’, in his high-profile libel trial.

Depp wrote: ‘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.

‘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.’

Despite stepping down, the actor will reportedly get his full salary for the film, for which he shot just one scene.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Depp had a ‘pay-or-play contract’, which requires that he be fully compensated whether or not the film is made and even if it is recast.

The star is believed to have been on an eight-figure salary, and was the highest paid out of his co-stars Eddie Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander, and Jude Law, who plays Dumbledore.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for release on July 15, 2022. 

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