DCEU’s Zack Snyder Sides With Amber Heard Would “Work With Her in a Second”
The architect of Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe (DCEU), Zack Synder, is making his alliances known in a recent interview, during which he defended disgraced actress Amber Heard ahead of the premiere of her next big blockbuster, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023).
When Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp initially sued his former wife, Amber Heard, in March 2019 after accusing the actress of defamation because of an op-ed she published in the Washington Post, no one could’ve predicted the media firestorm that would ensue three years later. The highly-publicized Depp v. Heard trial captivated the nation, with social media users weighing in online by the thousands, most of whom sided with the iconic Jack Sparrow actor.
So, when the court eventually ruled in Depp’s favor on June 1, 2022, fans were ecstatic to see the face of countless childhood classics get the justice he — depending on how you look at it — rightfully deserved. However, things on the internet quickly turned ugly, with users on TikTok and X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) claiming that Heard was not a “true” victim as she, too, was violent toward her former husband. This, mixed with some of her behavior throughout the trial, made her a perfect target for a particularly aggressive group of online commentators.
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At the time, Heard was already set to star alongside Jason Momoa in the sequel to DC Studios’ billion-dollar hit, Aquaman (2018), in which she would reprise her role as Arthur Curry’s love interest, Mera. However, with thousands of people petitioning for Warner Bros. to cut her from the comic book film entirely, fans weren’t exactly excited to see her take center stage in the new story, which had already suffered from pandemic-related delays and additional behind-the-scenes drama.
Earlier this year, reports circulated online stating that in response, director James Wan had trimmed down Heard’s involvement in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom to mere minutes to avoid further backlash. To add fuel to the fires, leaked notes from Heard’s therapy sessions also revealed that her shortened role in the film was an intentional attack, with Wan and even her co-star, Momoa, wanting her fired. According to her statement, Momoa would “dress up” like Depp and “drunkenly” harass her on set, though a DC spokesperson quickly shut down these accusations.
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More recently, Wan reiterated to Empire Magazine last month that Mera’s reduced role in the film had little to do with Heard’s personal life and, instead, was due to his vision for an Arthur and Orm (Patrick Wilson)-centric “buddy comedy” movie from the beginning. That said, Wan did express sympathy for Heard’s frustrations about several Mera scenes being removed, adding that it was “fair” she was upset about her parred-down role in the sequel.
Drama aside, a lot is resting on the shoulders of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom‘s performance at the holiday box office, given it has reported $205 million budget and underwent weeks worth of costly reshoots, making it one of Warner Bros.’ most expensive action-adventure flicks to date. The film will also mark the final DCEU entry as James Gunn and Peter Safran prepare to reboot DC Studios with the upcoming “Chapter One: Gods and Monsters,” meaning many are hoping it will end things on a high note.
Although box office projections aren’t looking too good for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, it could end up being an unexpected hit, though it’s unlikely to fare nearly as well as its predecessor. But until then, controversial Justice League (2017) director Zack Snyder is weighing in on the Amber Heard debate and, surprisingly, siding with the actress ahead of the premiere of her final DC collaboration.
Snyder initially cast Heard as Mera in Justice League in the early days of his ill-fated “SnyderVerse” before James Wan took the reins for Aquaman, meaning perhaps no director at DC is as familiar with the actress as Snyder is. Although Heard is widely painted as the villain online, Snyder, while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, had nothing but positive things to say about working with her, even admitting he’s been left dismayed seeing the actress suffer such a great deal of cyberbullying.
“I just don’t get it,” said the Batman vs Superman (2016) filmmaker. “If other people don’t like her, I don’t know what to say. I would work with her in a second.”
Given that Snyder, who has a strong insight into Heard’s situation, actually knows her, unlike the online pundits, it makes sense that he would be more sympathetic toward the actress’ recent publicity nightmare. Interestingly enough, the director also defended The Flash (2023) star Ezra Miller, revealing that he occasionally talks to the Barry Allen actor and lent support to them throughout their recent mental health and legal challenges.
Snyder finished by adding that the DC chapter of his life is now closed, and it would be difficult to coax him to reopen it. However, he did share one condition for his hypothetical return, explaining that if his “buddy” Gunn invited him back to DC, he might consider doing a Dark Knight Returns adaptation as long as it’s “a true representation of the graphic novel.”
With Snyder now entirely focused on his new sci-fi universe with the premiere of Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire (2023) right around the corner, it seems unlikely that the filmmaker will return to DC anytime soon. However, his comments about Heard and his willingness to work with her again does suggest a potential collaboration down the line, perhaps for future installments in his Rebel Moon franchise.