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Warner Bros. Head Honcho Shares How James Wan Improved Amber Heard And Jason Momoa’s Scenes In The First Movie, Despite Lack Of Chemistry

Amber Heard as Mera in Aquaman movie
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is entering its sixth week, but the fight between the two has yet to slow down. Last week we learned that Amber Heard perhaps came closer than we ever thought to losing her role in Aquaman 2, and this morning Warner Bros. executive Walter Hamada suggested that it was thanks to director James Wan and editor Kirk Morri that the first movie turned out as well as it did.

In a videotaped deposition from earlier this year, Walter Hamada, who oversees all DC related content for Warner Bros. discussed the revelation from last week that the studio considered not bringing back Amber Heard for the Aquaman sequel because of a perceived lack of chemistry between her and star Jason Momoa. Hamada said that those issues were managed in the first movie thanks to help behind the camera, saying… 

A good editor and filmmaker can pick the right takes, can pick the right moments.

There’s certainly no argument that filmmakers and editors can have a significant impact on how a movie performance appears on screen. That is, of course, the actual job of these people. According to Deadline, in response to Amber Heard’s attorney bringing this up, Hamada claimed it was more difficult in Aquaman to make the chemistry between Heard and Jason Momoa look good compared to other films, but that in the end the filmmakers made the end result work.

Prior to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom going into production there were various rumors that Amber Heard might be recast, but they all seemed to be little more than rumors at the time. Bad press has been an ongoing problem for both her and ex-Johnny Depp as their personal lives have become the stuff of courtroom drama. And while Heard did eventually reprise her role as Mera, we know now that there was some question about that.

The reason for the potential recasting is a significant issue. Amber Heard is counter suing Johnny Depp for defamation. She claims that a smear campaign has been waged against her, and that the campaign has hurt her financially. Heard’s side is claiming that the near recasting, and an apparent shrinking of her role in the new Aquaman movie, is due to this alleged smear campaign. Depp’s side is trying to show that any impact to her career here was due to other factors. 

Johnny Depp is also suing Amber Heard for defamation, blaming her for the loss of his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise after Heard wrote an op-ed where she discussed being a survivor of domestic abuse.  The trial is expected to wrap up soon, though a verdict may still be a ways off. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.