Warner Bros/DC/Kobal/Shutterstock Amber Heart in Aquaman (2018)
Amber Heard is responding to a report that she has been dropped from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
On Tuesday, Just Jared published a story claiming sources told the outlet that Heard is “being cut out of” the already-shot sequel, which is set to hit theaters in March 2023.
“The rumor mill continues as it has from day one — inaccurate, insensitive, and slightly insane,” a spokesperson for Heard tells PEOPLE in response to the report.
A rep for Warner Bros., the film’s studio, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The story comes two weeks after the verdict was read in the defamation trial between Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Earlier this month, a seven-person jury reached a verdict in the trial that began April 11 in Fairfax County, Virginia, deciding that Depp, 59, proved Heard defamed him in a 2018 op-ed. (The Edward Scissorhands actor has maintained that he never assaulted Heard, and claimed she physically harmed him.)
The jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages but Heard will only have to pay $10.35 million due to a Virginia law limiting punitive damages (the judge reduced the amount). In her countersuit, Heard won one of the three defamation counts, and was awarded $2 million in damages.
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getty (2) Johnny Depp; Amber Heard
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Heard was first cast as Mera, the princess of underwater kingdom Xebel, in 2017’s Justice Leagueand reprised her role in the original Aquaman the following year.
During the defamation trial, her talent agent, WME’s Jessica Kovacevic, virtually testified that she was told Heard received a smaller part in the forthcoming sequel because of her “lack of chemistry” with costar Jason Momoa, who leads the film.
Kovacevic also told the court there were no “performance issues raised” with Heard’s Aquaman role; instead, to her understanding her, the actress “tested extremely well” for the film.
During the trial, Heard’s role in the Aquaman movies came up several times. Depp claimed he played a part in getting her cast after she auditioned, making a phone call to Warner Bros. executives to seal the deal. She denied that, also saying that she “fought really hard” to return for the sequel when “they didn’t want to include me in the film.”
“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 spoilers away — two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took They just removed a bunch out,” Heard testified of the sequel script, adding that her role was “very pared down.”
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While she and her talent agent surmised that the Depp controversies played a part in the reduced role, DC Films President Walter Hamada tested on behalf of Depp, saying the studio had “concerns” about Heard’s on-screen chemistry with Momoa, 42. They even considered at one point recasting her role, he said.
“The character’s involvement in the story was what it was from the beginning,” Hamada, 54, said of Mera’s importance in the upcoming “buddy-comedy” sequel, which mainly follows “co-leads” Momoa and Patrick Wilson.
Dolph Lundgren, who played King Nereus in Aquaman and reprises his role in the sequel, recently recalled Heard being “terrific” on both sets.
“I had a great experience with her. She was very kind, nice to the crew, nice to everybody. Just down-to-earth,” said Lundgren, 64, via Instagram Live.
He also recalled Heard bringing daughter Oonagh, whom she welcomed in April 2021, to set with her: “She has a baby now, a newborn baby, so she had the baby with her on the set with a nanny, which is kinda cute. “