Mads Mikkelsen urges caution when discussing JK Rowling gender controversy

The Danish actor stars in the latest film set in the world of Harry Potter.

Mads Mikkelsen (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Mads Mikkelsen has said people should be “very careful” they know what they are talking about when discussing the controversy surrounding JK Rowling’s views on gender.

Critics have accused the Harry Potter author of being transphobic, an allegation she strongly denies.

Danish actor Mikkelsen, who plays evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie, addressed the issue during an interview with GQ Hype.

Author JK Rowling (Ian West/PA)

He said: “People treat it a little flippantly, like, ‘Isn’t that a disgrace?’ And every time you ask somebody, you can’t really figure out what she said.

“But if the reaction is that crazy, we have to be very careful that we know what we’re talking about.”

In June 2020 Rowling wrote an essay explaining how she was partly motivated to speak about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Mikkelsen, 56, said he had not read the 5,000-word blog and was not familiar with her views.

He added: “I have a habit of not commenting on things that I don’t know anything about, and I actually think that would suit the entire world.”

Johnny Depp left the production and was replaced by Mikkelsen (Yui Mok/PA)

Mikkelsen recently took over the role of Grindelwald from Johnny Depp, who left the Harry Potter prequel series after losing a High Court battle against the Sun newspaper over an article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

The actor, whose credits include Bond villain Le Chiffre and Dr Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal, was subsequently announced as Depp’s replacement.

Recalling the urgency with which the producers approached him for the role, he said: “Obviously there was a situation that had to be solved overnight … They were just panicking.”

The Secrets Of Dumbledore, the latest film in the magical franchise, sees evil wizard Grindelwald face off against Jude Law’s Albus Dumbledore for the future of the wizarding world.

It arrives in cinemas on April 8.

Read the full interview in GQ Hype.

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