Johnny Depp says he helped Amber Heard get Aquaman role — but later warned Warner Bros. about her
On Wednesday, Depp returned to the stand and told the court that he "made a phone call" that helped Heard land her role in the 2018 DC film. According to the actor, Heard was concerned about shooting the film on location in Australia, given her previous legal issues there. In 2016, she was prosecuted for illegally bringing her dogs into the country. The charges were ultimately dropped, but fearing the studio behind the movie, Warner Bros., would still have reservations about casting her, Depp said he made phone calls to them on her behalf.
"She asked if I would — I had a multi-film deal with Warner Bros., so we'd been in business together, so I knew these people — speak to them," Depp testified. "I made a phone call, and I spoke to three upper echelon Warner executives: Kevin Tsujihara, Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman."
As for whether she would've gotten the role without him, Depp said, "I can only say that ultimately, she did get the job in the film. I curbed their worries to some degree."
Representatives for Warner Bros. did not immediately return EW's request for comment.
Heard previously testified that Depp did not help her land her role in the superhero film. When Depp's attorney, Camille Vasquez, suggested Depp got her the part, a visibly upset Heard responded, "No, Ms. Vasquez. I got myself that role by auditioning. That's how that works."
Far from helping her get the part, Heard said in her deposition that she had to "fight really hard" to keep her role in Justice League, Aquaman, and the upcoming Aquaman 2 after Depp's attorney, Adam Waldman, characterized her abuse allegations as a "hoax" and "fraud" to the press.
Due to that negative press attention, Heard said her role in the film was ultimately "pared-down." But on Tuesday, Walter Hamada, president of DC Films at Warner Bros, testified that Heard's role was never reduced despite talks of potentially replacing her due to poor chemistry with the film's star, Jason Momoa.
On Wednesday, Heard's attorneys argued that Depp tried to get Heard fired from the franchise following their split. They presented Depp and the court with a text he sent to his sister, Christine Dombrowski, on June 4, 2016, shortly after Heard obtained a restraining order against him. "I want her replaced on that WB film!!!" Depp wrote.
Under redirect, Depp explained why he sent that text, saying he felt guilty about initially advocating for Heard to get the part. "Honestly, I felt responsible for having gone to those people and painted such a beautiful picture," he said. "I felt it was my responsibility to get the truth to Warner Bros. about what they were going to be facing down the line, which was two franchises that would be causing problems for one another, especially as ... any news, any press, any media that came out about me at that time had been turned into, you know, I was Charles Manson; I was the worst thing on earth and they just kept coming, it was like a nonstop fire."
Depp claimed that "Warner Bros. was starting to get quite upset about some of the things that were being said about" him in the press, adding, "On one level, yes, it's just acting, it's just movies. But it's business, and it's your word, and I had given my word to them, and I felt responsible that I had to tell them exactly what was going on and that it was going to end up ugly."
However, Depp denied asking Tsujihara, Kroll, and Silverman to have Heard fired from the film.
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 have argued that references to their client (and Heard's previous abuse allegations following their 2017 divorce) are clear, and that the essay 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. The trial will wrap up on Friday.