While the DC Extended Universe awaits fresh arrivals, the series remains in the public spotlight owing to the much-discussed defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Aquaman actor Amber Heard. With just a few days before the jury decides, the DC brand has found its way into the proceedings owing to Heard’s involvement as Mera in the DCEU series.
Throughout the trial and the public dialogue around it, Heard has been forthright about what this issue has done to her career as a whole and her standing inside the DCEU. From her assertions that Warner Bros. was undermining her position to speculation that she would be replaced as Mera, Aquaman has been thrust into a fresh limelight ahead of the sequel to the series, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Part of what makes this scenario so tough is Heard and Depp’s connection with Warner Bros, particularly after Depp was asked to quit the Fantastic Beasts series in late 2020. In the most recent developments from the trial, Depp has revealed how he assisted Heard in finalizing her part with her own Warner Bros. production.
Depp has a history with Warner Bros.
During Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial, Depp reminisced on how he helped Heard get her job as Mera in the DC Extended Universe.
When questioned about what transpired following Heard’s audition, Depp said that Warner Bros. informed the actress that the picture will be shot in Australia, which might have been a problem for her. To put things in context, Heard allegedly brought her beloved canines into Australia in 2015, which was against the country’s biohazard laws:
“What do you think occurred after Ms. Heard auditioned for Aquaman?” asks the interviewer. “After Ms. Heard’s audition, or potentially auditions, for Warner Bros. and, I guess, the creative team, Ms. Heard communicated to me that… Warner Bros. had said that the picture would be shot in Australia.” And Australia was a possible concern for Ms. Heard…”
Depp went on to explain how Heard asked him if he could speak with Warner Bros. because of their long-standing friendship, to which Depp consented and made phone calls to the company’s upper management. He couldn’t say for sure whether this helped her obtain the part of Mera, but he believed he “assuaged their concerns” regarding Heard being in Australia for production:
“…What occurred when Ms. Heard auditioned for Aquaman?” asks the interviewer.
“I was told by Ms. Heard that the picture was going to be shot in Australia, which concerned her since… it concerned Warner Bros.” So she asked if I’d do it because… for a few years, I’d had a multi-year agreement with Warner Bros., so we’d been in business together, and I knew these folks. I’d worked on films with them… She asked if I wanted to talk with them. I called and talked with three upper-level Warner officials, Kevin Sujihara, Sue Kroll, and Greg [Silverman].”
“What was the outcome of your conversations with those people?” asks the interviewer.
“I can only say that she eventually got the position in the picture, so perhaps I had alleviated some of their concerns,” Depp says.
Heard Is Depp to Blame for Aquaman’s Role?
Before this trial, Johnny Depp had a long relationship with Warner Bros., including work on Black Mass and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in addition to his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series. He made it a point to leverage those relationships to assist his then-wife Amber Heard in her quest of a position in DC’s Aquaman, despite the fact that she was in an apparently tough situation due to her experience in Australia.
While it’s unclear how this will impact either side in the trial, it seems that Depp’s influence helped Heard join the DCEU in the first place before she contributed to the franchise’s highest-grossing film to date. This is also the first time this information has been revealed during the trial, following Heard’s assertions that Warner Bros. refused to bring her back for Aquaman 2 because of her legal difficulties.
Despite the fact that Heard revealed some little leaked facts about how her part was shortened, the main concern now is what Aquaman 2 accomplishes with her character and where she sits with the series going forward. The testimony of Depp and Heard against one another might influence the result, but there is still a long way to go before any final judgments are made in court.