Amber Heard, who appeared at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia on Monday to testify as part of the defamation case brought against her by former husband Johnny Depp, testified that she had to "fight really hard" to keep working in Hollywood after her volatile split from Johnny Depp. The actress claimed that Warner Bros. scaled back her role as Mera in Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom.
Amber Heard claims Warner Bros “pared-down” her Aquaman 2 role following her publicized legal battle with Johnny Depp
As Entertainment Weekly notes, Heard returned to the stand for a third day in Depp's defamation trial against her on Monday, accusing her ex-husband of orchestrating a "smear campaign" to ruin her career and reputation, after she obtained a domestic violence restraining order against him in 2016. Heard testified that a "sophisticated PR machine" behind Depp conspired to label her a liar in the press, resulting in her removal from acting jobs and beauty sponsorships. While Heard ultimately did appear in 2017's Justice League, the "biggest movie opportunity" of her career at that point," she said she had to fight to keep the part.
She also testified that her role in Aquaman 2 was significantly pared down after the alleged attacks from Depp's team in the press. "I had to fight really hard to keep my career after I got my [restraining order against Depp]," Heard told the court. "I lost opportunities. I got dropped from jobs and campaigns. I fought to keep my job and the biggest movie opportunity I had to date [with] Justice League with the option to [star in] Aquaman. I had to fight really hard to stay in Justice League because that was the time of the divorce." Heard plays the character Mera, a princess from the underwater kingdom of Xebel, and Aquaman's future wife and Queen in the comics. Heard has played Mera in the first Aquaman film as well as in Justice League, and will reprise her role for the Aquaman sequel.
Explaining her deal to appear in the superhero franchise, Heard said, "It's structured like a three-picture option. I signed on to do Justice League, where my character was introduced. The fee is small relative to what it will become if and when you do the other options or movies under that umbrella. So it was the contract for Justice League, which could then become Justice League 2, or it could be Aquaman or it could be some other movie within the DC Universe. And the second picture ended up being Aquaman, and the third being Aquaman 2. And each time the fee goes up." Heard said she earned $1 million for Aquaman and twice as much for the sequel, in which she reportedly appears on screen for just 10 minutes. Heard testified she fought hard to stay in Aquaman 2 as well, alleging that Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, "didn't want to include me."
When asked if she was "actively scheduling timing for filming" for Aquaman 2 before Depp's alleged smear campaign, Heard responded yes. When asked if she was actively involved after Depp's team called her a liar in the press, she answered, "No. The communications stopped at that point." Heard said she ended up appearing in a "very pared-down version" of the original story planned for her character Mera in Aquaman 2. "I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character and another character, without giving any spoiler aways, two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role," Heard testified. "They just removed a bunch out."
Asked if she's been able to find work recently, Heard said, "I have done one small independent film. I shot a film in Guatemala. It's a small independent, meaning it doesn't have distribution or anything; it's a lower budget film that I had been attached to for many years called Into the Fire." She said she was paid $65,000 for the role. Regardless of how the defamation trial between Heard and Depp plays out, both actors have continued to face public scrutiny over their highly publicized trial.
Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse", while the 36-year-old is countersuing the Pirates of the Caribbean actor for $100 million, claiming his former lawyer defamed her by rejecting the abuse claims.
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