Warner Bros. executive testifies Amber Heard's role in Aquaman 2 was never reduced
Walter Hamada, president of DC Films at Warner Bros., refuted Amber Heard's testimony that her role in Aquaman 2 was significantly "pared down" in the aftermath of ex-husband Johnny Depp's alleged "smear campaign" against her.
Heard previously testified 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, accused her of orchestrating an "abuse hoax" against Depp in the press.
In pre-recorded deposition played on Tuesday, Hamada testified that Waldman's statements did not affect Heard's role. He denied that Heard's role was reduced, maintaining that the film pitch was always a "buddy comedy" between Jason Momoa's titular superhero and Orm, played by Patrick Wilson. The studio did not plan for Heard to be a co-lead, he testified.
When asked if Heard's role was ever reduced for any reason, Hamada responded, "No. I mean, again, from the early stages of development of the script, the movie was built around the character of Arthur and the character of Orm. Arthur being Jason Momoa and Orm being Patrick Wilson, so they were always the two co-leads of the movie... The movie was always pitched as a buddy comedy between Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson."
Heard was paid for her services in both films, and her compensation was never affected by Waldman's comments, Hamada testified. He also told the court there were discussions of possibly recasting Heard due to an "issue of chemistry" with Momoa, but at no point did the studio ever release Heard from the Aquaman 2 contract.
"It was the concerns that were brought up at the wrap of the first movie production movie, which is the issue of chemistry," he said of the creative concerns. "Did the two have chemistry? The chemistry, you know, editorially, they were able to make that relationship work in the first movie but there was a concern that it took a lot of effort to get there and [they] would be better off recasting [and] finding someone who had a bit more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa."
Hamada later elaborated, "It's not uncommon on movies for two leads to not have chemistry. And that is sort of movie magic... the ability to sort of put performances together and with the magic of a great score and how you put the pieces together. You can fabricate that chemistry. I think if you watch the movie, they looked like they had great chemistry, but I just know that during the use of the post-production that it took a lot of effort to get there."
Heard's talent agent Jessica Kovacevic testified this week that Warner Bros. cited the lack of chemistry for a possible recasting, but she suspected that it had to do with the bad press surrounding Heard at the time. "They don't want to hire someone who has bad press," she testified. "No one wants that association."
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, claiming 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.