Not so fast. While gossip website Just Jared reported the news that after Warner Bros. test-screened the film with audiences, supporting star Amber Heard was being cut from “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” the actress’ reps now deny those reports.
Some have expected Warner Bros. to go all “Christopher Plummer in ‘All the Money in the World'” on “Aquaman 2” amid the social media and public fallout of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial. But Heard’s representative said in a statement shared widely with media, “The rumor mill continues as it has from day one — inaccurate, insensitive, and slightly insane.”
Warner Bros. could not immediately be reached for comment by IndieWire. Earlier today, Just Jared reported that after test screenings drew a sour reaction to Heard, Warners was set to recast the role of princess Mera — who is lead Jason Momoa’s co-star and love interest in the film. They’d have to work fast, as the movie is hurtling toward theaters for release on March 17, 2023. The report also said that the studio was already planning reshoots with Momoa and his co-star Nicole Kidman.
Heard originated the role of Mera in the first film from 2018, in which she also played the supporting role. During the trial — in which Depp was awarded $10.35 million in damages to be paid by Heard for defaming him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed — Heard previously testified how her role in the upcoming sequel had already been cut down amid her ex’s “smear campaign.”
“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 spoiler aways, two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role,” Heard testified of her “very pared-down version” of the role. “They just removed a bunch out.”
Heard reportedly only appears in 10 minutes of the film. She earned $1 million for the first film and was set to make $2 million for the sequel, as discussed in the trial, and per the terms of her DC contract.
She claimed that Warner Bros. “didn’t want to include me” in the sequel and said she was “actively scheduling timing for filming” before Depp’s alleged “smear campaign” against her.
During the trial, DC Films President Walter Hamada said in a pre-taped deposition from March 15 that Heard and Momoa weren’t well-matched as a screen couple. “They didn’t really have a lot of chemistry together,” Hamada said. “I think editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the first movie, but there was concern that it took a lot of effort to get there.”
When asked by Depp’s lawyer Ben Chew if the role was ever reduced for any reason, Hamada said no.