“A grown woman being hosed down for her job,” Amber Heard sighs of one of the handful of indignities of being cast in Aquaman. Ironically, the hosing down of the actress did not happen for the film’s many underwater sequences, but rather one of the few that unfold on dry land. “Sometimes I would start my work day with getting on this little step with a little grate. I’d sit on the grate, and then they’d just hose me down basically.”
The minor pain and suffering would already appear to have paid off, with Aquaman officially a major hit after its huge US and Chinese opening, and without question the biggest film yet on Amber Heard’s resume. Notorious for her relationship and then break-up with Johnny Depp (not to mention her run-in with Barnaby Joyce after the couple brought their pet dogs into Australia while Depp was filming Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales here), Heard also has an impressive list of films to her credit. The likes of The Rum Diary, Magic Mike XXL, 3 Days To Kill, Machete Kills and The Danish Girl, however, couldn’t prepare the actress for the special effects extravaganza that is Aquaman.
There were challenges every day. “There were many wigs,” laughs Heard, who plays Mera, a major player in the film’s undersea setting. “Many wigs. You have tracking cubes on you, and a wig cap, which is, let me tell you, not the sexiest look for me. I’m just going to put that out there. And I was wearing heels and this crazy suit in a harness. Superficially, my character in the film is very similar to what she looks like in the comic books. I wanted to match that look, at least superficially. Jason, however, really informs Aquaman, as opposed to the other way around.”
Jason is, of course, Jason Momoa who plays the superhero, Aquaman, who enjoys a somewhat tempestuous relationship with Heard’s Mera, which was glimpsed when both actors featured in last year’s Justice League. “They’re reluctant partners at first,” Heard says. “They’re very, very different. And where one is kind of weak, the other is strong, and vice versa. But they do grind against each other, in terms of their personalities, at the beginning. They are reluctant partners forced to go on this journey together, and you see them change and inform each other as they go along. They overcome certain obstacles and teach the other one, when the other one needs to learn the most. It’s great. There’s a great scene where you really see the peak of their journey, and the point at which they meet in the middle.”
Guiding that relationship was Australian director, James Wan, most famous for horror films like Saw and Insidious, along with Fast & Furious 7. “James is like a magician,” Heard smiles. “You don’t really know what he’s cooking, but you know it’s something big. He can’t try to really articulate what he’s imagining, because it’s so big. And when you’re on a stage and you’re disconnected from a lot of the visuals that you normally have when you’re filming a more traditional type of movie with less visual effects and with less demands in terms of the imagination, you all know where you’re existing. You’re sharing the room with people that are also sharing the same experience, contextually. This, of course, was different. He had the unimaginable task of giving us what we needed to know in terms of the information, and setting the scene for us in some way, and then really being able to create it afterwards. You have to really trust your director for that, and he’s really good at that. He’s going to surprise us all.”
When FilmInk interviews Amber Heard in Los Angeles, she is accompanied by Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, who takes great delight in stitching up his co-star. “She is a very avid reader,” he says. “She tackles like 500, 600 page books a day. And I just thought that she liked to ignore me a lot. And when someone likes to ignore me, I just like to poke at them. ‘Hey, what are you reading? What are you doing?’ I just can’t help it…that’s just me. So, one day, I took her book, and I ripped out the last pages just when she was very close to finishing the book.”
Amber Heard laughs. “The studio might fire me, but I’m going to kill Aquaman. I’m going to kill him.” For the record, the book was Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. “Exactly,” laughs Momoa. “I’m like, ‘Boring!’”
We must end, however, with an obvious question. How does Amber Heard like Australia? “Oh, I love Australia,” she replies. “I’ve spent a good amount of time there. And after this movie, I’ve spent a lot of time there. And yeah, it’s great. It’s a great place to find pets and… I’m joking,” she laughs. “That’s the way to end it,” Momoa smiles. Indeed…
Aquaman is released in cinemas on December 26. Stay tuned for much more coverage.