Amber Heard has insisted her role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel has been drastically reduced after her ex-husband Johnny Depp launched a smear campaign against her by saying she lied about abuse allegations.
But in a new blow for the actress, the high-profile head of DC Films testified Tuesday that the star’s role in the big-budget film was in no way influenced by references to her tumultuous marriage to Depp.
Walter Hamada made the allegation via video link at the former couple’s blockbuster defamation trial in Virginia.
Hamada – who has been president of DC Films since 2018 – claimed it was always intended for Heard to have a minor role in the film franchise.
However, he added that producers were so “concerned” about a lack of chemistry between Heard and co-star Jason Momoa in the first Aquaman film that they even considered recasting her in the sequel.
“I think editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the first film,” the film executive said. “But there were concerns it would take a lot of effort to get there and that we would be better off finding someone with more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and moving forward that way.”
Although Heard managed to keep her place in the sequel, she claimed that her role was significantly reduced.
“I got a script and then new versions of the script that had scenes taken away…they basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch,” Heard testified last week.
Hamada, however, directly denied this claim, saying that she should always be a supporting character in the sequel.
“The size of the role she had in the film was established in early script development, which was scheduled to take place in 2018,” he claimed. “The character’s involvement in the story was the way it was from the start.”
“From the early stages of script development, the film was built around the character Arthur [Momoa] and the character of Orm [Patrick Wilson]’ Hamada explained.
On Monday, Heard’s legal team brought entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold as a witness, who said Heard was paid $2 million for the sequel — a sum negotiated around the time the first “Aquaman” was released in 2018. movie came out.
However, the counsel said the actress could have renegotiated for up to $6 million if Depp and his attorney Adam Waldman hadn’t defamed her by calling her abuse allegations a “hoax.”
Arnold claimed that Heard’s earning capacity and bargaining power were significantly affected by these claims, which circulated in 2020.
But Hamada continued Tuesday to insist that the actress’ compensation was in no way influenced by Depp and Waldman’s claims.
Meanwhile, since the trial began, more than 4 million Depp fans have rallied to sign a petition calling for DC Films to remove Heard from Aquaman 2 entirely.
The highly anticipated film is set to be released in March next year. The first Aquaman movie, released in 2018, was a box office hit, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed the actress wrote in which she said she was a victim of sexual violence.
She didn’t specifically name Depp in the article, but it was written after Heard obtained a 2016 restraining order against her ex-husband over abuse allegations.
Depp is seeking $50 million in damages. Heard has filed a $100 million counterclaim.