JAKARTA - The president of DC Films testified on Tuesday, May 24, that his studio is considering replacing Amber Heard in Aquaman 2 out of concern she lacks chemistry with star Jason Momoa.
According to Variety on Wednesday, Heard was eventually cast in the sequel, but his lawyers argue that he nearly lost his job and can't renegotiate for more money because of the backlash over domestic violence allegations against Johnny Depp.
Walter Hamada, head of Warner Bros.'s DC unit, was the first witness called by Depp's side as they began their rebuttal of Heard's counterclaim in court in Fairfax, Virginia. Appearing via a deposition video, Hamada testified that the allegations of abuse did not play a role in the casting decision in Aquaman 2.
However, he said the studio put off taking the option for a few weeks as it considered whether to reprise the role of Mera, which was Aquaman's love story in the first film.
"They don't have much chemistry together. Editorially they were able to make the relationship work in the first film, but there are concerns that it will take a lot of work to get there," said Hamada.
Hamada said that the chemistry was created in post-production, using "magic", including the film's score. He said it was not uncommon for the two main players to have no chemistry.
"You know it when you see it, and the chemistry isn't there," he said.
Heard was paid $1 million for the first Aquaman, and $2 million for the sequel. The pay was in line with the original contract, but Heard's agents have testified that he should be able to renegotiate for more money due to the global success of the first film.
However, Hamada testified that under his leadership at DC Films, he had decided not to automatically renegotiate the sequel.
"A big part of our philosophy is that we will hold people against their choice," Hamada said.
Hamada said that Aquaman 2 was designed as a friendly comedy between Momoa and Patrick Wilson, who plays King Orm, Aquaman's half-brother.
Amber Heard has alleged that her role is "cutting back" gradually, but Hamada testifies that things have remained the same since the film was first developed in 2018. Tim Heard argues that she lost at least one other role on Amazon alongside Gael Garcia Bernal.
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