The nasty court proceedings are having fallout beyond the trial.
In a Virginia court Monday during the controversial, ongoing defamation trial with Johnny Depp, Amber Heard testified that her role in Aquaman 2 was significantly “pared down” as a direct result of the dramatic legal battle going on with her ex-husband.
Heard first made her debut as the DC Comics character Mera in Justice League in 2017 as part of a three-picture deal. The second film, 2018’s Aquaman, saw Heard in even more of a leading role alongside Jason Momoa’s titular character. Millions of fans signed a petition for her to be removed from the sequel, 2023’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, in light of her legal battle with Depp. Producer Peter Safran declined, telling Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast that “One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes.” But it appears that even though she’s still in the film, her momentum in the franchise has been halted — reports state about she has about 10 minutes of screen time in the movie.
Heard said of the interaction with Warner Brothers, “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 spoilers away, two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out.” Heard earned $1 million for the first Aquaman and $2 million for the second picture, but the pay increase is almost a moot point by Hollywood standards if she’s only sparsely in the film.
Heard is currently being sued by Depp for a 2018 op-ed she penned for the Washington Post (with what appears to have been assistance from the ACLU) that implied that he abused her during their marriage. Depp’s team is framing Heard as advantageously creating the scandal to further her career, and they’re suing for the damages that the allegations have had on Depp’s career. But it appears that the revealing, and upsetting court battle is hurting both of their acting prospects. The petition to remove Heard from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has reached over 4 million signatures — and the discourse online against Heard has become increasingly ugly.