Fantastic Beasts 3 star Mads Mikkelsen has said he “would have loved to have talked to” Johnny Depp about replacing him in the film. 

Last November, Depp exited the film series after losing his libel case against the Sun, a British tabloid that referred to him as a “wife beater” in a story referencing allegations he had assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Mikkelsen, who last year was hired to assume the role of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off, discussed the awkward nature of taking a role intended for Depp.

“I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more,” Mikkelsen explained. “But I didn’t have a dog in that fight. And I don’t know what happened [in his private life], and I don’t know if it was fair, him losing the job, but I just knew that the show was going on, and I would’ve loved to have talked to him about it if I had the chance, but I just don’t know him in that sense.”

“But they called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script and so said yes. And I know it was controversial for many people, but that’s just the way it plays out once in a while,” he added.

Back in May, Mikkelsen told Collider he has no intention of copying Depp’s portrayal of the character.

“Nobody’s interested in me going in there and trying to copy anything, that would be creative suicide immediately, especially when it’s been done before and masterfully,” he said. “So everybody’s expecting us to find a different path. Having said that, we need a bridge between what he did and what I’m gonna do, so those bridges you have to find together, whether it’s a certain look, whether it’s a certain attitude in certain situations, but you have to make it your own. Anything else would be plainly just creatively stupid.”

Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, Fantastic Beasts 3 stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jude Law. The film arrives in theaters July 15, 2022.