LONDON • Mads Mikkelsen could be the new actor in the Fantastic Beasts film series (2016 to present).
According to entertainment news website Deadline, the Danish actor is in talks to replace American actor Johnny Depp, who played the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the first two movies of the franchise.
The Fantastic Beasts series is a spin-off from and prequel to the Harry Potter film series (2001 to 2011) based on the novels by English author J.K. Rowling.
The move to replace Depp came after the 57-year-old actor lost a libel case last week against a British tabloid that called him a "wife beater" during his stormy relationship with his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, 34.
Depp revealed on Instagram last Friday he was asked by Warner Bros to resign from his role of Grindelwald. He agreed to that request.
According to Deadline, Mikkelsen is director David Yates' top choice to replace Depp. The 54-year-old is well known for his role as the supervillain Kaecilius in the Marvel movie Doctor Strange (2016), which starred Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role.
Mikkelsen is also known for playing the cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in the critically acclaimed drama Hannibal (2013 to 2015).
The third Fantastic Beasts movie is now scheduled to be released in July 2022 after being moved from its previous release date of November next year.
Production for the movie has begun in London in September and Hollywood Reporter said Depp would be paid the full eight-figure salary even though he filmed only one scene before getting the axe.
The movie also stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, the wizard who would go on to become the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.