Amber Heard has claimed that her role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel was “pared down” after one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers described the actress’s abuse allegations as a “hoax” in an April 2020 statement to The Daily Mail. As Heard’s trial testimony wound down on May 16, she also said she lost work for a beauty brand and was booted from publicity campaigns for other films following Depp attorney Adam Waldman’s statement, which had appeared in several news stories. Waldman was referring to an incident alleged to have happened on May 21, 2016, in which Heard claims Depp threw a cell phone at her face. The lawyer said, “Quite simply, this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops, but the first attempt didn’t do the trick.”
Heard argued that her career took a hit after she split from Depp and obtained a restraining order against him in May 2016. “I was harassed, and harassed on a daily basis, death threats,” she testified, while Hollywood power players were “so eager to support him,” she said of her former husband. Several years later, however, her career began to rebound with roles in DC Universe films and as Nadine Cross in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. “It took a lot of hard work on my part,” she continued. “I was awaiting a schedule from Warner Bros. for Aquaman 2, the sequel.”
“So were you actively scheduling timing for filming and scripts for Aquaman 2 before these articles?” Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, asked. “Yes, I was,” Heard responded.
After the articles came out, Heard claimed, “the communications stopped at that [point].” Bredehoft directed Heard to the September 2015 contract she had signed regarding her character, Mera, in Justice League. Under the agreement, that character could appear in Justice League, Aquaman, or “some other movie within the DC universe.” Heard said her role in Aquaman 2 was in jeopardy in the wake of Waldman’s statements.
“I fought really hard to stay in the movie,” Heard said. “They didn’t want to include me in the film.” While she was able to maintain her place, it’s “a very pared-down version of that role,” Heard added, explaining that she was “given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it.” Heard avoided spoilers, but one of the scenes featured “two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role.” (Vulture has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.) Heard’s statements about suffering reputational and professional harm came on the third day of her testimony in Depp’s defamation trial against her. While Depp is suing Heard over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, Heard is pursuing a counterclaim against Depp related to the alleged fallout from Waldman’s statements.