Jason Momoa wanted Amber Heard to reprise her role as Mera in “Aquaman 2”, according to new testimony in the defamation trial brought against Heard by her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Momoa and “Aquaman” director James Wan allegedly “committed to [Heard]” and were “adamant she was in the film,” entertainment consultant and former producer Kathryn Arnold told the court on Monday. During her testimony, Arnold seemed to suggest that Momoa and Wan expressed this sentiment in an email but Depp’s legal team quickly cut her off, objecting on the grounds of hearsay (an objection the judge sustained).
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Arnold also suggested that the movie studio behind “Aquaman” weren’t keen to have Heard return to the franchise, and that it was only due to the advocacy from Momoa, Wan and Heard’s own management team that she was able to secure a role in the next film.
Arnold said that by the time “Aquaman 2” was in the works, Heard’s reputation in Hollywood had become “very negative” due to remarks that Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman made, calling Heard’s abuse allegations a “hoax.” People in Hollywood like “[Amber’s] work but they can’t work with her because every time her name is mentioned the negativity flares up again,’” Arnold said. She added that it “doesn’t make sense” for studios and producers to hire Heard. “Her world has been silent in terms of opportunities.”
Echoing statements Heard herself has made about her role in the DC comics sequel being significantly cut, Arnold told the court that the original script for “Aquaman 2” had a “strong romantic arc the entire film and some great action sequences” for the actress. Heard had begun training five hours a day so she could do the action sequences when a costume designer told her that her role had been “diminished”, with the action sequence “cut out” and her role “radically reduced”, according to Arnold.
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Arnold went on to dispute media reports that Heard’s role was dramatically reduced because of an alleged lack of chemistry with Momoa in the franchise’s first installment.
Turning to the subject of the financial damage allegedly caused by Waldman’s remarks, Arnold pointed out that while Momoa renegotiated his contract from $3 million US for the first “Aquaman” to $15 million US for the sequel, Heard was paid only $2 million US as stated in her original contract. Arnold believes Heard could have renegotiated her fee to as much as $6 million US had she not been maligned by Waldman.
All in all, Arnold estimates that, because of Waldman’s statements, Heard lost an estimated $45 to $50 million US in earnings comprising incoming from roles in movies and on TV and also business deals like the one she once had with L’Oreal.