It’s no secret that in the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial, regardless of what the jurors feel, in the court of public opinion the Aquaman star has a lot fewer supporters than she used to. Or at least when her testimony and those of others has sent the hashtag #AmberTurd trending, it’s been tough to imagine the term brings with it a lot of trust and goodwill. Now you can count DC Films among those who are saying that at least part of Heard’s testimony in the defamation case is untrue.
As reported by THR, DC Films chief Walter Hamada testified on Tuesday that the controversies surrounding Amber Heard and Johnny Depp — contrary to Heard’s own testimony — had nothing to do with the discussion to recast her character in the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. According to Hamada, the only consideration was that the sparks just didn’t seem to be flying between Heard and the film’s male lead Jason Momoa. “They didn’t have a lot of chemistry together,” Hamada testified. He said that for 2018’s Aquaman it took “a lot of effort” in postproduction to “fabricate” the chemistry between Mera and Aquaman.
This contradicts testimony Amber Heard had previously given saying she “fought really hard” to stay in Aquaman in the Lost Kingdom and that between her reading of the script and the actual production, her role was reduced. “They basically took a bunch out of my role,” Heard said. “They just removed a bunch.” As an example, Heard mentioned a fight scene between Mera and another unnamed character which was cut before filming took place.
Hamada contradicted the claim that Amber Heard’s role was “pared down” and said it was always the plan that Mera wouldn’t act as a romantic lead in the sequel. He said that “from the very early stages of development,” Aquaman 2 was conceived as a “buddy comedy” between Momoa’s Aquaman and the villain of the first film, Patrick Wilson’s Orm.
It is a little surprising to hear Hamada refer to Aquaman in the Lost Kingdom as a “buddy comedy,” particularly considering some of the things director James Wan has said about the sequel. Back in August, Wan said the sequel was heavily inspired by the classic 1965 Italian horror film Planet of the Vampires, and warned the movie would be appreciably darker than the first. But describing it as a “buddy comedy” with Aquaman and Orm as the buddies in question makes it sound more like DC’s version of Thor: Ragnarok.
While it likely has little bearing on the defamation case, it’s possible the testimony that Amber Heard and Jason Momoa lacked any on screen chemistry could shed some light on fan concerns that cropped up earlier this year. After the news broke in January that long time partners Momoa and Lisa Bonet were splitting up, tons of fans took to Twitter almost immediately to blame Amber Heard for the split. If the biggest issue she has in the Aquaman films is that she has no chemistry with Momoa, then it might be best to assume the concerns of a Heard/Momoa fling were baseless.