DC Films chief Walter Hamada denied actor Amber Heard’s claims that her role in the upcoming superhero movie Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was ‘pared down’ because of her ongoing legal troubles with ex-husband Johnny Depp. Hamada said that the decision was made because Heard didn’t have chemistry with star Jason Momoa.
Depp has sued Heard for an op-ed that she wrote in 2018, in which she claimed to have been assaulted by an unnamed partner. Heard has counter-sued. During the ongoing trial, Heard said that the legal troubles and allegations have damaged her career, and that her role in the second Aquaman film was reduced because of it. She also said that she ‘fought hard’ to keep her job, and that Warner Bros wanted to remove her entirely. Incidentally, WB asked Depp to bow out of the third Fantastic Beasts movie for reasons pertaining to the case.
“They didn’t have a lot of chemistry together,” Hamada testified, refuting Heard’s allegations about the reason behind her role being reduced. “The reality is it’s not uncommon on movies for two leads to not have chemistry and it’s sort of movie magic and editorial — the ability to put performances with the magic of a great score and how you put the pieces together, you can fabricate that chemistry. At the end of the day when you watch the movie, it looks like they have great chemistry. But I just know that through the course of postproduction, it took a lot of effort to get there. Sometimes you just put characters together on the screen and they work. It’s like what makes a movie star a movie star. You know it when you see it. The chemistry wasn’t there. … This one was more difficult because of lack of chemistry between the two.”
This is in line with what Heard’s agent had previously testified as the reason that WB gave them for reducing her role. “I had to fight really hard to keep my career,” Heard testified on May 17. “After I got my temporary restraining order, I lost opportunities. I got canceled from jobs. I got dropped from a campaign I had shot. I fought to keep my job in the biggest movie opportunity I had to date — Justice League, with the option [for] Aquaman.”
She added, “I was given a script, 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 spoilers away — two characters fighting with one another. They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch.”
But potential spoilers were given away by expert witness Kathryn Arnold, who said that Heard told her details about the film’s plot, and how she had been removed from a climactic action sequence for which she had trained for five months. “I believe that in the first act of the movie, she was injured somehow, or it had something to do with a baby,” she said according to Entertainment Weekly, suggesting that Aquaman and Queen Mera (Heard’s character) have a baby in the sequel. She added that Mera “ends up in the hospital early in this new Aquaman 2 movie and doesn’t really come out until the end to kind of wrap things up. All the interactions with Momoa’s character, and certainly the action scenes, were taken out.”
Directed by James Wan and also starring Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and others, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is slated for release on March 17, 2023.