Earlier in November, word broke that Johnny Depp was being asked to leave the Fantastic Beasts series, whose third installment is currently mid-shoot. The reason? It had to do with him losing his libel case against the British tabloid The Sun, who had labeled him a “wife-beater” when describing his marriage to Amber Heard. But who would replace him? Early reports claimed it would be acclaimed Danish actor (and reliable franchise player) Mads Mikkelsen. Jump a couple weeks and — whaddaya know? — Depp’s official replacement is officially Mr. Mikkelsen.
The news came from a press release, aired by IndieWire, which formally welcomed the thespian to the Harry Potter spin-off series. Depp had played Gellert Grindelwald, the movies’ main villain, who had, as per the title of the second film, committed some crimes. Mikkelsen will actually be the third actor to assume the role. In the first film, Colin Farrell played Grindelwald, albeit in disguise, posing as one of the good guys. The final minutes find his mask being ripped off, revealing Depp.
Will something similar happen in the still unnamed threequel? After all, Depp did shoot one entire scene, for which, thanks to a contract hiccup, he will still be paid his full agreed-upon (and quite large) salary. If Depp makes the final cut, he’ll almost certainly net the highest paycheck for the least amount of screentime in cinema history. If he doesn’t make the cut, he will almost certainly net the highest paycheck for zero minutes of screntime in cinema history.
In the meantime, good on Mikkelsen, a great serious actor (you can currently see him in the drinking drama Another Round), a great Bond villain actor, and a great Hannibal Lecter actor. Maybe this will help NBC (or whoever) finally greenlight that fourth season of Hannibal, so they can finally remake The Silence of the Lambs, but for network television.