As the fallout from the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp court case continues, Heard’s representative has been forced to seemingly deny reports that the star has been dropped from the forthcoming Aquaman sequel.
On Tuesday, Just Jared claimed that a source had told the website that Heard would be dropped from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The source told the outlet that Heard was “being cut out of” the movie, which features Jason Momoa as the titular Aquaman. In the first movie, Heard played Mera, his love interest. She also appeared in 2017’s Justice League.
Heard was set to reprise her role as Mera in the sequel. However, there’s been a lot of public backlash against Heard during and after her court battle with Depp, where the two accused each other of defamation. Perhaps Warner Bros. and DC considered cutting her out of the movie in order to do some damage control?
Speaking to PEOPLE, however, Heard’s representative said, “the rumor mill continues as it has from day one — inaccurate, insensitive, and slightly insane.”
Interestingly, the statement did not outright deny the veracity of the Just Jared report. Warner Bros., meanwhile, was unavailable for comment at the time PEOPLE ran the story.
Many have reacted strongly against Amber Heard
The reports come two weeks after a jury found Heard to have defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp; she was ordered to pay the former Pirates of the Caribbean star $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Depp was ordered to pay Heard $2 million after the jury found that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her.
Depp had maintained for several years that he was innocent of domestic violence allegations from Heard, stating that it was, in fact, Heard who had been abusive.
The celebrity status of both parties ensured that the case was a significant trending topic across social media, with many seeing the trial as a critical point in the #MeToo movement and ongoing culture wars. Others have stated it was a watershed moment for male victims of domestic violence. The issues at play ensued that tensions remained high between interested members of the public.
Depp was infamously removed from both the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts franchises when he was initially accused of domestic violence. Many have demanded that Warner make an equal move to take Heard out of Aquaman. Many of those calling for Heard’s removal highlight that she admitted on tape that she punched her husband. Public backlash against the actor is such that a Change.org petition to remove her from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is rapidly approaching 5 million signatures.
During the trial, Heard stated that Warner “didn’t want to include me in the film” and that her role is “pared down” compared to the first movie. She also acknowledged that Warner had “basically took a bunch out of my role,” perhaps indicating that the studio was anticipating the public response and cut the role of Mera to the bare essentials.
Last year, producer Peter Safran said the campaign would have no bearing on Heard’s role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, saying he didn’t believe Warner was ever “going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure.”
“One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes,” Safran told Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast. “You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is due in theaters in March 2023.