The head of DC Films testified on Tuesday that the studio is considering replacing Amber Heard for “Aquaman 2″ lest she lack chemistry with co-star Jason Momoa.
Heard was eventually cast in the sequel, but her attorneys argued that she nearly lost her job and could not renegotiate for more money due to the backlash to the domestic violence allegations against her. Johnny Depp. Heard is seeking $100 million in a counter-libel lawsuit against Depp.
Walter Hamadeh, president of Warner Bros. D.C. Unit, was the first witness called by Depp’s side when they began refuting Heard’s counterclaim in court in Fairfax, Virginia. Hamada appeared via video, and testified that allegations of abuse played no role in the decision-making of “Aquaman 2”.
However, he said that the studio delayed making his choice for several weeks because he was considering whether to recast the role of Mera, who was Aquaman’s love interest in the first film.
“They didn’t have much chemistry together,” Hamada said. “Openingly, 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.”
Hamada said the chemistry came to light in post-production using the “magic of the movie,” including the film’s score. He said it was not uncommon for two to result in a lack of chemistry.
“You know it when you see it,” he said, “and the chemistry wasn’t there.”
Heard was paid $1 million for the first “Aquaman” and $2 million for the sequel. This salary was consistent with her original contract, but Heard’s agent testified that she should have been able to renegotiate for more money due to the worldwide success of the first film. However, Hamada testified that under his leadership at DC Films, he was careful not to automatically renegotiate sequels.
“It was a big part of our philosophy that we were going to hold people to their choices,” he said.
Hamada said that “Aquaman 2” – due out next year – was filmed as a “companion comedy” between Momoa and Patrick Wilson, who plays King Orm, Aquaman’s half-brother. Heard claimed that her role has been greatly “reduced” over time, but Hamada testified that it has remained consistent since the film was first developed in 2018.
Heard’s team claimed that she lost out on at least one other role – an Amazon movie with Gael Garcia Bernal – as well as lucrative endorsement deals due to the online campaign against her over allegations of abuse against Depp.
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