Amber Heard has insisted that her role in the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel was drastically cut back after her ex-husband Johnny Depp launched a smear campaign against her by saying she lied about abuse allegations.
But in a new blow for the actress, the high-powered head of DC Films testified Tuesday that the star’s role in the big-budget flick was in no way impacted by innuendo surrounding her tumultuous marriage to Depp.
Walter Hamada made the claim via video link at the former couple’s blockbuster defamation trial in Virginia.
Hamada — who has been president of DC Films since 2018 — alleged it was always intended for Heard to have a smaller role in the film franchise.
However, he added that producers were so “concerned” about a lack of chemistry between Heard and co-star Jason Momoa in the first “Aquaman” film that they even considered recasting her in the sequel.
“I think editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the first movie,” the movie boss stated. “But there was a concern that it took a lot of effort to get there and that would we be better off finding someone with more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and move forward that way.”
Although Heard managed to keep her spot in the sequel, she alleged that her role was significantly reduced.
“I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes…they basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out,” Heard testified last week.
However, Hamada directly disputed that claim, saying she was always supposed to be a minor character in the sequel.
“The size of the role in the film that she had was determined in the early development of the script, which would be in 2018,” he alleged. “The character’s involvement in the story was sort of what it was from the beginning.”
“From the early stages of the development of the script, the movie was built around the character of Arthur [Momoa] and the character of Orm [Patrick Wilson],” Hamada further stated.
On Monday, Heard’s legal team brought entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold as a witness, who said Heard was paid $2 million for the sequel — a sum negotiated around the time that the first “Aquaman” film came out in 2018.
However, the consultant said the actress would have been able to renegotiate for up to $6 million, had it not been for Depp and his lawyer Adam Waldman defaming her by calling her accusations of abuse a “hoax.”
Arnold claimed Heard’s earning capacity and negotiating powers were significantly diminished by those claims, which began circulating in 2020.
But Hamada further insisted on Tuesday that the actress’s compensation was in no way impacted by the claims made by Depp and Waldman.
Meanwhile, since the trial started, more than 4 million Depp fans have flocked to sign a petition urging DC Films to drop Heard from “Aquaman 2” altogether.
The highly-anticipated film is set for release next March. The first “Aquaman” film — released in 2018 — was a box office smash, grossing more than $1 billion across the globe.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that the actress wrote, in which she said she was a victim of sexual violence.
She did not specifically name Depp in the article, but it was written after Heard filed a restraining order against her now-ex-husband in 2016 over abuse allegations.
Depp is seeking $50 million in damages. Heard has filed a $100 million countersuit.