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Mads Mikkelsen criticises method acting as “pretentious” and “boring”

"How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out?”

By Will Richards

Mads Mikkelsen in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore'
Mads Mikkelsen in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore'. (Photo: Warner Bros)

Mads Mikkelsen has shared his opinion on method acting, labelling the practice “pretentious” and “boring”.

Mikkelsen, who appears in the new Harry Potter offshoot film ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore’, was speaking to GQ about his beliefs and processes as an actor.

Stating that he believes actors can take preparation “into insanity,” Mikkelsen said: “What if it’s a shit film – what do you think you achieved? Am I impressed that you didn’t drop character? You should have dropped it from the beginning! How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out?”

Discussing how he believes the media’s coverage of method actors has led to this reverence that he sees as misguided, Mikkelsen said: “The media goes, ‘Oh my god, he took it so seriously, therefore he must be fantastic; let’s give him an award.’ Then that’s the talk, and everybody knows about it, and it becomes a thing.”

On what it would be like to work with a famous method actor such as Daniel Day-Lewis, he added: “I would have the time of my life, just breaking down the character constantly.

“‘I’m having a cigarette? This is from 2020, it’s not from 1870 – can you live with it?’ It’s just pretentious.”

Mikkelsen plays Gellert Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore’, with the Danish actor taking over the role from Johnny Depp, after Depp said that he would no longer play the character due to production house Warner Bros asked him to resign his role.

This came after he lost a libel case relating to abuse allegations by his former wife Amber Heard. Depp reportedly left the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ project after filming just one scene.

Speaking to EW last year, Mikkelsen said of his take on the role: “There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I’m going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own.”

In a subsequent interview with The Times, Mikkelsen addressed the circumstances preceding his taking over the role: “Obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more.

“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 have 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,” he continued. “And I know it was controversial for many people, but that’s just the way it plays out once in a while.”