While Amber Heard recently claimed she had to fight to be part of “Aquaman 2” due to her public disputes with ex-husband Johnny Depp, DC Films head Walter Hamada revealed on the witness stand on Tuesday that Heard was nearly recast in the sequel for a different reason.
When asked during the very public defamation trial whether Heard’s role in the “Aquaman” sequel – officially titled “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” – was reduced ahead of production, the president of Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Films testified that Heard’s role was always planned to be smaller in “Aquaman 2.”
“The size of the role in the film that she has was determined in the early development of the script,” Hamada testified, adding that her smaller role was an aspect of the sequel “from the early stage of development of the script” and not a recent development.
Hamada then revealed that the story focus of “Aquaman 2” was always intended to shift away from Jason Momoa’s titular superhero and Heard’s Mera and towards Arthur Curry’s relationship with his half-brother Orm, played by Patrick Wilson.
“The movie was always pitched as a buddy comedy between Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson,” Hamada said.
But the reason Heard’s role in “Aquaman 2” was reduced is because of her lack of chemistry with Momoa in the first film, with Hamada testifying that Warner Bros. considered recasting the role altogether for the follow-up.
“It was the concerns that were brought up at the wrap of the first movie, which was the issue of chemistry, did the two have the chemistry,” Hamada said. “I think editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the first movie, but there was a concern that it took a lot of effort to get there and would we be better off recasting, finding someone who has better, more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and move forward that way?”
Hamada added that through careful editing they were able to get “Aquaman” to a place where Arthur and Mera’s romance played, noting, ““A good editor and a good filmmaker can pick the right takes, pick the right moments,” but that lack of natural chemistry seems to be the reason Mera won’t be quite as prominent in the next film.
Asked how the production of “Aquaman 2” went with Heard, Hamada said, “My understanding is the production went very smoothly.”
And for the record, when asked if he has spoken with Zack Snyder (who originally cast Heard), Hamada responded with a slight chuckle that no, he has had no contact with Snyder.
The DC Films executive’s comments come on the heels of Heard’s testimony that she had to fight to keep her role in the sequel. “I fought really hard to stay in the movie,” Heard testified last week, adding that the final script was “a very paired down version of that role” and action scenes starring her character were removed, “they just removed a bunch out.”