Amber Heard's agent says she was told the star's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom role was reduced due to chemistry issues — but the agent believes that behind the scenes, negative press around Heard's accusations against Johnny Depp affected her career.
WME's Jessica Kovacevic, the talent agent for the 36-year-old actress, virtually testified in Depp's defamation lawsuit against Heard on Friday, stating that she was told Heard received a smaller part in the forthcoming sequel because of her "lack of chemistry" with costar Jason Momoa, 42, who leads the film.
Depp, 58, filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit in March 2019 against Heard claiming that her December 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence hurt his career prospects, even though he wasn't mentioned by name in the article.
Heard was first cast in 2017's Justice League and starred as Mera in the original Aquaman the following year. Kovacevic said while testifying that Heard was also set to make $2 million in the sequel. The actress has already filmed the movie, and it is set to hit theaters in March 2023.
JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty; Lawrence Busacca/Getty
Her agent testified that she was told Warner Bros.' reason for allegedly reducing Heard's role in Aquaman 2 was because of "the lack of chemistry between her and Jason."
The agent said WME learned Heard's role as Mera was allegedly reduced when Heard received the script. Speaking about Heard's success after Aquaman, Kovacevic said that she believed the actress's career did not take off as much as Momoa's.
JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty (2) Amber Heard; Johnny Depp
When asked how Heard's career was harmed, Kovacevic said, "In my experience ... Your career takes a turn after something like that. She was very well received in the movie at the time, everyone was happy with her at the time, there were no issues. Then to have a complete downturn after that, and then have that coincide with constant tweets and negativity put out about her, I don't have a physical piece of paper of evidence, but it's the only logical conclusion I draw."
She added that, amid the bad press, Heard lost a role in an Amazon movie that was in the works.
When asked about statements made by Depp's attorney Adam Waldman, including that he said Heard's allegations against Depp were a "hoax," Kovacevic said that "added fuel to the fire."
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Kovacevic also said there were no "performance issues raised" with Heard's Aquaman role; instead, to her understanding, the actress "tested extremely well" for the film.
Heard — who is countersuing Depp for $100 million for defamation — previously testified that her role in the Aquaman sequel, the female lead opposite Momoa's title character, was drastically reduced because of bad press aimed at her.
Prior to Depp's attorneys publicly calling her abuse claims a "hoax," Heard had been able to "get my life back on track" after filing for divorce and a domestic violence restraining order in May 2016.
The first Aquaman debuted in December 2018 and went on to make more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
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Heard explained that she had a three-picture deal to play Mera, starting with 2017's Justice League, with her pay increasing with each subsequent DC film. Per the contracts brought forth in court, she was paid $1 million upfront for Aquaman and $2 million for the sequel, both with potential bonuses for box office performance.
However, after the "hoax" comments made headlines, "the communication stopped" between the studio Warner Bros. and Heard about scheduling and planning for Aquaman 2. Her role eventually became "very pared down" in the sequel, according to Heard.
"I fought really hard to stay in the movie. They didn't want to include me in the film," Heard testified.
"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, and they basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out," she added.