Amber Heard almost lost ‘Aquaman’ role over ‘chemistry,’ not controversy, exec says

A blond woman and a large bearded man hold microphones while sitting and waiting to answer questions.
Amber Heard’s chemistry with “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa was questioned by Warner Bros., according to testimony Tuesday in the Depp/Heard defamation case.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)
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When it came time to shoot the film “Aquaman,” Amber Heard almost lost her gig as Aquaman’s love interest, Mera. But according to a studio executive, it had nothing to do with any drama between her and ex-husband Johnny Depp, as Heard had claimed.

Rather, it turned out Heard and co-star Jason Momoa “didn’t really have a lot of chemistry together,” according to Walter Hamada, the Warner Bros. Pictures division president who oversees all of the studio’s superhero and supervillain movies.

Hamada was testifying Tuesday via video deposition as a rebuttal witness for Depp in the actor’s ongoing defamation trial against Heard, which Court TV is livestreaming from a Virginia courtroom.


“The reality is, it’s not uncommon in a lot of movies for two leads to not have chemistry. It’s sort of movie magic ... to sort of put performances together with the magic [of] a great score,” the executive said.

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Experts for Heard and the actor herself testified previously that drama with Depp almost cost her the “Aquaman” role.

“After I got my temporary restraining order [against her ex-husband], I lost opportunities,” Heard testified May 17. “I got canceled from jobs. I got dropped from a campaign I had shot. I fought to keep my job in the biggest movie opportunity I had to date — ‘Justice League,’ with the option for ‘Aquaman.’”

The Mera character had first appeared in 2017’s “Justice League,” and Warner Bros. had an option to keep Heard in the role. But because of the lack of chemistry between the two, Hamada said, the studio considered recasting the role rather than making the 2018 follow-up movie, “Aquaman,” with Heard. They decided to move ahead as originally contracted.

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“We were determined to hold our actors to their option agreements,” he said.

Hamada, whose testimony was recorded in March, said the studio was able to “fabricate” chemistry after principal filming was complete.

“So at the end of the day, I think if you watch the movie, they look like they had great chemistry,” Hamada said. “But I just know that through the course of postproduction, it took a lot of effort to get there.”