The DC star alleged that Depp employed a “sophisticated PR machine” to smear her as a liar, costing her brand deals and roles, Entertainment Weekly reported. She told the court she “had to fight really hard to keep my career after” being granted a restraining order against Depp in 2016.
She said: “I lost opportunities. I got dropped from jobs and campaigns. I fought to keep my job and the biggest movie opportunity I had to date [with] Justice League with the option to [star in] Aquaman. I had to fight really hard to stay in Justice League because that was the time of the divorce.”
Regarding her deal with Warner Bros., she explained: “It’s structured like a three-picture option. I signed on to do Justice League, where my character was introduced. The fee is small relative to what it will become if and when you do the other options or movies under that umbrella. So it was the contract for Justice League, which could then become Justice League 2, or it could be Aquaman or it could be some other movie within the DC Universe. And the second picture ended up being Aquaman, and the third being Aquaman 2. And each time the fee goes up.”
According to EW, Heard said she was “actively scheduling timing for filming” before Depp’s team branded her a liar; once the “smear campaign” began, she claimed: “The communications stopped at that point.”
Although she alleged that the studio “didn’t want to include” her by the time Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom rolled around, she fought to remain in the picture and earned $1 million for it, despite the role of Mera being significantly reduced.
She alleged: “I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character and another character, without giving any spoiler aways, two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out.”
Depp–who already lost a similar court case in the United Kingdom–has claimed in his defamation suit against Heard that he lost professional opportunities due to her op-ed alluding to his alleged abuse. Going off of Heard’s testimony, the aftermath has been just as damaging for her. She told the courts that her “shoots were canceled” while doing PR for the Paramount+ series The Stand. Her brand deal with L’Oreal also suffered, and since the backlash began she said she’s “only been able to participate in, I believe, one live event that they also couldn’t promote or use the material from.”
As for acting work, Heard said she’s recently only filmed “one small independent film” at a significantly lower rate than her previous superhero fare. “It’s a small independent, meaning it doesn’t have distribution or anything; it’s a lower budget film that I had been attached to for many years called Into the Fire,” she said.
The defamation trial has become a cultural lightning rod, with significant reputational damage done on both sides. Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom is set to release in March 2023; per EW, Heard reportedly appears onscreen for just 10 minutes.