Put Mads Mikkelsen atop the list of actors being considered to replace Johnny Depp in the David Yates-directed Fantastic Beast 3, the third installment of the Harry Potter spinoff based on the JK Rowling fantasy franchise. Sources said he is Yates’ choice to play Grindelwald and he is in early talks. The aim is to keep on track a picture that recently moved its original November 12, 2021 release date to summer 2022. The cast led by Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law are already shooting.
Depp was asked by Warner Bros to withdraw from the role after he came out on the losing end of an ugly legal battle he waged against a British tabloid for libeling him in describing him as a “wife beater” in articles that covered his tempestuous marriage to Aquaman star Amber Heard. The judge sided with the newspaper. Depp reportedly was asked to leave after shooting one day on the film — he’s being paid for the whole film but had a five picture deal — and Warner Bros has been racing ever since to lock in a new actor. There has been speculation on a number of thesps, but I hear that Yates is a big fan of Mikkelsen and that the Danish actor is the guy they are trying to lock in. He most recently wrapped the Doug Liman-directed Chaos Walking. Stay tuned.