Over the course of five weeks of trial, a mystery with a multi-million dollar question mark has lingered: to what extent were the careers of Johnny Depp or Amber Heard harmed by the actors who allegedly defamed themselves ?
Hollywood insiders, usually tight-lipped about dealings in the industry, have spoken out largely to push back against accusations that the duo’s public bashing played a part in their tumultuous careers. In line with studios holding back from appearing to take sides in the high-profile dispute set in motion at the height of the #MeToo movement, Walter Hamada, DC Films chairman and highest-ranking studio officer to appear in the lawsuit, said Tuesday that “there had been conversations about a possible redesign” Heard in the Aquaman sequel but that they were unrelated to his legal battle with Depp.
Hamada attributed the talks to “chemistry” issues with frontman Jason Momoa.
The testimony mirrors Disney production executive Tina Newman, who testified last week that she was unaware of the December 2018 editorial at the center of the libel lawsuit playing a role in choosing not to not go ahead with another episode for Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp alleged he was kicked out of the franchise shortly after the column – which didn’t specifically name him but described “domestic abuse” in a time frame consistent with his marriage to Heard – was published – and that it was still boycotted by Hollywood.
In a $100 million counterclaim, Heard accused Depp of coordinating a campaign to smear her by calling her abuse allegations a hoax.
In a 20-minute deposition shown to jurors, Hamada detailed how Heard was nearly kicked out of the upcoming film. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
“Concerns were raised late in production on the first film,” Hamada said about whether the studio would “better recast someone who has better natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and move forward that way.” .
Heard’s contract with Warner Bros. paid her $450,000 for her debut as Mera, Queen of Atlantis, in Zach Snyder. Justice League with options from the studio for her to reprise the character in later films, the actor testified. She was paid $1 million for Aquaman and $2 million for the sequel. The studio hasn’t decided on her option, for which she would be paid $4 million, for another film.
When asked if allegedly defamatory statements by Adam Waldman – one of Depp’s attorneys who was fired from the case for leaking information covered by a protective order to the press – calling the allegations a Heard’s abuse of lying affected Heard’s pay or role in the Aquaman followed, Hamada denied the claim. He described Warner Bros.’ philosophy on “holding[ing] people to their options.
“As a company, we run into a lot of problems when we make deals with actors,” Hamada said. “Traditionally, before I joined the company, every option was renegotiated. One thing we were trying to put the brakes on was not renegotiating every deal. »
For several days on the stand, Heard testified that studios and endorsers moved away from her once Depp began undermining her claims that he abused her.
“I had to fight very hard to keep my career,” Heard said on May 17. “After I got my temporary restraining order, I lost opportunities. I got canceled from jobs. I got fired from a campaign I had shot. I fought to keep my job in the greatest cinematic opportunity I’ve had to date – Justice Leaguewith the option [for] Aquaman.”
The actress added that Warner Bros. did not want to include it in the Aquaman sequel and only shot a “very stripped down version” of his.
“I was given a script, then new versions of the script that had removed action scenes, which depicted my character and another character – without giving away any spoilers – two characters fighting each other. another,” Heard said. “They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch.
Contradicting Heard’s testimony, Hamada said her role in the film was determined before the couple’s legal battle and that “her character’s involvement in the story was what it was at the start”.
The testimony of the executive appointed to lead the DC Extended Universe in 2018 after Justice League failed with what Heard’s agent, WME’s Jessica Kovacevic, said about the reason for her client’s role in the Aquaman suite was not as robust as desired. She testified last week that she was told Heard’s role had been reduced due to chemistry issues, but that negative press had affected the studio’s decision, wondering why Heard’s career hadn’t took off as much as that of Momoa.
“Your career takes a turn after something like this,” Kovacevic said, referring to the fact that Warner Bros. cast Heard to play Mera after auditioning for the role. “She was very well received in the movie at the time. Everyone was happy with her at the time. There was no problem. Then having a complete downturn after that and then having that coincide with constant tweets and negativity about him.I don’t have physical proof on paper, but that’s the only logical conclusion I draw.
Kovacevic added that Heard was kicked out of an Amazon movie because of Depp’s accusations.
Hamada was the second Hollywood insider to testify for Depp at the trial. Jack Whigham, the actor’s agent, previously said his client was to receive $22.5 million for reprising his role as Jack Sparrow in the sixth pirate movie, but that Disney went in a different direction after Heard’s op-ed.
“After the editorial, it was impossible to get him a studio film, which is what we would normally have focused on,” Whigham said.
Heard also enlisted many people with industry ties to support his case. Newman was called to the stand to refute claims that Heard’s abuse allegations caused Disney to abandon plans to pirate 6. She pointed to emails between company executives Sean Bailey, Alan Horn and Alan Bergman discussing issues with Depp on and off set.
The testimony was overshadowed by United Talent Agency’s Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s former agent, tearing up her former client for ruining his career due to alcohol and drug problems.
“His star had faded as it became more difficult to find him a job given the reputation he had gained due to being late and other things,” Jacobs said, adding that “people were talking” of his drug addiction.
At some point, Depp had to start wearing an earpiece to have his lines transmitted to him because he wouldn’t remember them, she recounted.
The trial continues on Wednesday and Kate Moss is expected to testify as Depp’s rebuttal witness.