Amber Heard says her Aquaman 2 role was 'pared down' amid Johnny Depp's 'smear campaign'

·4 min read
Amber Heard says her Aquaman 2 role was 'pared down' amid Johnny Depp's 'smear campaign'

Amber Heard testified that she had to "fight really hard" to keep working in Hollywood after her volatile split from Johnny Depp.

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.


Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Amber Heard as Mera in 'Aquaman'

"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."

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." Asked if she was "actively scheduling timing for filming" for Aquaman 2 before Depp's alleged smear campaign, Heard responded yes. 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."

Amber Heard in court
Amber Heard in court

STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Amber Heard in court

Representatives for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

Heard also testified that film shoots for The Stand, a 2020 Paramount+ drama series she appeared in, were canceled after Depp's alleged PR campaign against her. She told the court she was actively involved in doing PR for the series, but "shoots were canceled" due to the bad press.

Similarly, Heard said her relationship with beauty brand L'Oreal took a hit during this time. She became a spokesperson for the brand in 2018, but said following allegations that she lied about Depp's abuse, she has "only been able to participate in, I believe, one live event that they also couldn't promote or use the material from."

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 was paid $65,000 for the role.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote chronicling her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though Heard never mentions Depp by name, his lawyers argue that references to their client (and Heard's previous abuse allegations following their 2017 divorce) are clear and have damaged Depp's career and reputation. Heard filed a $100 million countersuit, claiming Depp and his legal team defamed her by calling her allegations false.

Related content:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting