Rumors began swirling on Tuesday afternoon that Warner Bros. reportedly dropped Amber Heard from the upcoming film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and was preparing to recast the actress. The sequel is currently already in the post-production phases according to IMDb, and is set for a March 2023 release.
JustJared reported that “sources exclusively” told the platform that the studio would be conducting reshoots with fellow stars Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman.
According to a spokesperson for Heard, the reports are baseless. “The rumor mill continues as it has from day one — inaccurate, insensitive, and slightly insane,” Radar reported.
Rife with controversy, the still-fresh six-week defamation trial between Heard and her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp came to a close after a jury found both Heard and Depp guilty of defamation in their legal battles against one another. Depp, however, was awarded a cumulative $15 million in damages while Heard was granted $2 million, resulting in a legal win for the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
Amid the court proceedings, the president of DC Films Walter Hamada testified that the studio previously considered replacing Heard as Mera in Aquaman 2, due to her lack of chemistry with leading man Jason Momoa. Appearing in court via video deposition, Hamada claimed the abuse allegations has nothing to do with any casting decisions in the second Aquaman movie.
“They didn’t have a lot of chemistry together,” said Hamada. “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.”
According to Variety, Heard was compensated $1 million for 2018’s Aquaman, and $2 million for its followup, which was consistent with her original contract. However, Heard’s agent Jessica Kovacevic has argued that the actress should have maintained the right to renegotiate for a higher salary based on the first film’s great success. According to Hamada, renegotiating for sequels has not been customary under his leadership at DC Films in order to, “hold people to their options.”
Heard and her team have also contended that her role as Mera in the sequel has been stripped down from its original state, while Hamada and the DC team affirm the part has remained consistent since its 2018 development.
Warner Bros. has yet to comment on the status of Heard’s role in the forthcoming Aquaman.