A Warner Bros. executive testified that Amber Heard was almost re-cast in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom."
Walter Hamada said that the reason was that she didn't have "natural chemistry" with lead Jason Momoa.
Hamada also said in a deposition that Heard's role in the sequel wasn't affected by Johnny Depp's claims.
Amber Heard was almost recast in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" because she didn't have "natural chemistry" with Jason Momoa in the first movie, a Warner Bros. executive testified as part of the ongoing defamation case between Heard and Johnny Depp.
A prerecorded deposition from Walter Hamada, president of DC-based film production for Warner Bros, was played in court on Tuesday by Depp's team to undercut Heard's counterclaim that her career was harmed by Depp's attorney.
Hamada testified that there was a delay for several weeks to cast Heard in the "Aquaman" sequel because of "conversations about recasting" by the director James Wan and producer Peter Safran.
"It was the concerns brought up at the wrap of the first movie, which was the issue of chemistry," Hamada said. "I think 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 and that would we be better off finding someone with more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and move forward that way."
He added: "I think at the end of the day, I think if you watched the movie they looked like they had great chemistry but I just know that through the course of the post-production that it took a lot of effort to get there."
Depp is suing Heard over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote in 2018, describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse. Depp has accused Heard of ruining his career and reputation in the defamation case. Heard is countersuing Depp, claiming that Depp physically abused her on multiple occasions during their marriage and that her career was damaged after the actor's attorney Adam Waldman called Heard's allegations a "hoax."
Hamada added during his testimony that ultimately they didn't choose to audition anyone else and Heard was brought in again to play her character Mera.
Heard's lawyers noted in court that Wan texted Heard that she "rated really high" with the audience at the test screening on August 25, 2018.
Earlier in the trial, Heard had testified that she "fought really hard" to stay in "Aquaman 2" but her part was ultimately "pared down." Heard's talent agent Jessica Kovacevic and entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold backed Heard's claim in their testimonies.
But, Hamada said in his deposition that Heard's role did not change from when the script was first developed.
"The size of the role in the film that she had was determined in the early development of the script, which would be in 2018," The Warner Bros. executive said. "The character's involvement in the story was sort of what it was from the beginning."
Hamada added that Heard was never a co-lead for the sequel because the movie was pitched as a "buddy comedy between Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson," who played Aquaman and Orm respectively in the first film.
"From the early stages of the development of the script, the movie was built around the character of Arthur and the character of Orm," Hamada said.
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