Warning: potential spoilers for the upcoming movie Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Since April 12, Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate has been hearing testimony regarding alleged abuse at the hands of both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard against each other as Depp is suing her for $50 million over a December 2018 op-ed she published in the Washington Post (which is published in Fairfax County outside Washington) claiming to be a victim of domestic abuse, which he denies. Heard is countersuing for $100 million.
Recently, Heard brought Entertainment consultant Kathryn Arnold to testify about Heard’s celebrity status and about Depp’s career. During her questioning, Arnold dropped some potential spoilers for Aquaman 2.
According to Arnold, the first draft of the sequel gave Mera, Heard’s character, a “strong romantic arc” and “some great action sequences.” However, when Heard got later scripts, her role was “radically reduced.”
Arnold said, “She ends up in the hospital early in this new Aquaman 2 movie and doesn’t really come out until the end to kind of wrap things up. All the interactions with Momoa’s character, and certainly the action scenes, were taken out.”
Arnold didn’t divulge exactly why Mera is in hospital in the new film, but said it is because she is “injured” or “it had something to do with a baby.” Comic book fans know that Aquaman and Mera share a son known as Arthur Curry, Jr., also known as Aquababy. In the comics, Aquababy had the ability to create life out of water.
Arnold added that Heard trained “five hours a day for several months with a trainer” to prepare for a big action sequence in the movie, however she learned her role had been significantly reduced when she got to set.
Heard has maintained that she almost was fired from the DC film series and believes that her role has been reduced due to negative press from the UK libel case and the latest defamation case and she testified “I fought really hard to stay in the movie. They didn’t want to include me in the film. 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. They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out,” Heard stated. While Heard believes “they” didn’t want to include her, Arnold testified that co-star Jason Momoa and director James Wan were “adamant that she was in the film.”
Heard’s WME agent, Jessica Kovacevic, testified that Heard’s “lack of chemistry” with her Aquaman co-star Jason Momoa almost got her dismissed from the role. Walter Hamada, President of DC Films at Warner Bros. also testified in a video deposition that there were chemistry concerns between the costars after the wrap of the first movie, which hit theaters in 2018.
“They didn’t have a lot of chemistry together,” Hamada said. “The reality is it’s not uncommon on movies for two leads to not have chemistry and it’s sort of movie magic and editorial — the ability to put performances with the magic of a great score and how you put the pieces together, you can fabricate that chemistry. At the end of the day when you watch the movie, it looks like they have great chemistry. But I just know that through the course of post-production, it took a lot of effort to get there. Sometimes you just put characters together on the screen and they work. It’s like what makes a movie star a movie star. You know it when you see it. The chemistry wasn’t there. … This one was more difficult because of lack of chemistry between the two.”
Kovacevic doesn’t exactly believe that to be the case and shared that Heard tested very well with audiences and believes that the constant negative tweets and bad publicity surrounding the defamation case were the problems. Her agent also added that Heard lost a role in a film for Amazon that was in the works.
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Hamada also refuted Heard’s claim that she was released from her contract and testified that Heard was never released from her Aquaman contract.
A Change.org petition to remove Heard from the Aquaman sequel has reached 4,353,507 signatures, however, producer Peter Safran told Deadline that the social media campaign wouldn’t affect a decision to keep Heard in the franchise.
When Hamada testified he also spilled a spoiler and shared that James Wan’s sequel was “conceived as a buddy comedy between Momoa and Patrick Wilson,” and that Amber Heard as Mera was never intended to be a co-star and that her part was never cut or reduced,
Directed by James Wan, the upcoming sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Orm / Ocean Master, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, Temuera Morrison as Arthur Curry, Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin, Vincent Regan as Atlan, Jani Zaho as Stingray, Indya Moore as Karshon, and Game of Thrones star Pilou Asbæk in an unknown and unnamed role. The film hit theaters on March 17, 2023.
According to Kathryn Arnold, Heard is contracted for 3 Aquaman movies, with each paying double the previous films. She was paid $1 million for the first, $2 million for the second, and is contracted to be paid $4 million for the third if/when it is made.
Closing arguments are expected Friday.