Amber Heard expert says Depp ’caused own demise’, spoils ‘Aquaman 2’

Pirates of the Caribbean 6 didn’t happen because Jack Sparrow was ‘exhausted creatively,’ industry consultant says

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Lawyers for Amber Heard will not call Johnny Depp back to the witness stand as the former couple’s defamation trial reaches its final week.

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“Everything Depp has testified up to this point has been irrelevant to the heart of this case, and there’s no reason to believe it would be any different now,” a source close to Heard tells Deadline.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard for $50 million, saying she defamed him when she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post. Heard, 36, has counter-sued for $100 million, arguing that Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.

At one point considered to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Depp said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.”

Last month, the Pirates of the Caribbean star testified that he never hit Heard and maintained that she was the abuser in their relationship. Depp said Heard threw a vodka bottle at him in 2015 while they were in Australia, severing the top of his right middle finger.

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Witnesses for Heard took the stand, throughout the morning with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Moore testifying that Depp’s finger injury didn’t come from Heard throwing a bottle at him.

“The wound doesn’t really appear to be a sharp glass laceration,” he said.

Heard alleged that Depp’s injury may have occurred after he smashed a wall-mounted phone during an argument that night.

Johnny Depp gestures to the gallery as he leaves for a break in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022.
Johnny Depp gestures to the gallery as he leaves for a break in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022. Photo by Steve Helber /Associated Press

Later, Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist, said Depp has “consistent behaviours for someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence” and said his behaviour was consistent with substance abuse disorder.

Spiegel also alleged that Depp showed signs of cognitive decline due to his use of earpieces on film sets.

“If I was giving a lecture and I was fed my lines, I would think there’s a cognitive deficit,” Spiegel said.

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When Depp’s lawyer Wayne Dennison tried to elucidate the widespread use of earpieces by actors, including the late Marlon Brando, Spiegel sniped back: “He does not use one now.”

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During the redirect, Spiegel sought to refute Dr. Sharon Curry’s findings that Heard had “personality disorder” telling jurors that she didn’t meet the criteria for the diagnosis. Instead, he added, she had “battered wife syndrome.”

When the afternoon’s proceedings began, Heard’s lawyers sought to demonstrate that Depp’s career was already on a downward trajectory before Heard’s op-ed was published.

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Kathryn Arnold, an entertainment industry consultant, weighed in on what caused Depp’s career downturn, rhyming off a list of films that were considered box office bombs, including The Lone Ranger, Mortdecai and Transcendence.

“The erratic behaviour and tardiness and the lawsuits have had an impact,” she said. “There’s a lot of publicity around anything he does.” Depp’s lawsuits, she added, have “caused his own demise.”

As for Depp’s assertion that he lost Pirates 6 because of the op-ed, she said the Jack Sparrow character had been “exhausted creatively” and that producers were considering a reboot rather than a sequel prior to the publication of the op-ed.

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Meanwhile, Heard’s public image took a hit, Arnold declared, citing the campaign to remove the actress from next year’s Aquaman sequel after Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman labelled her accusations as an “abuse hoax.” Heard revealed last week that her role in the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was “pared down” significantly. Comparing Heard’s career to other actors who have appeared in superhero films, including Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Zendaya, Arnold asserted that her opportunities dried up following Depp’s charges that he was abused.

Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022.
Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022. Photo by Steve Helber /Associated Press

Heard lost out on millions from TV and movie projects, Arnold attested. She was in consideration for Michael Bay’s Ambulance and a Prime Video series with Gael Garcia Bernal, Arnold said. Her part in Aquaman 2 is limited to a few scenes at the beginning and the end.

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“That movie would have helped her career,” Arnold said.

Depp’s lawyers argued that Heard’s career was not comparable to Momoa’s, noting that he had been a well-known star since 1999 when he co-starred on Baywatch. Likewise, they pointed to Gadot’s lengthy career prior to her success as Wonder Woman and Zendaya’s Emmy-winning part in Euphoria.

Despite her bombshell claim that she had to fight to stay in Aquaman 2, Warner Bros’ Walter Hamada is expected to testify on Wednesday that Heard’s role in the DC film didn’t suffer as a result of sordid details from her private life being made public. Arnold hinted that her character, Queen Mera, gives birth to a baby spends most of the movie in the hospital after sustaining an injury at the film’s start. Mera reportedly returns at the film’s end.

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“I believe that in the first act of the movie, she was injured somehow or had something to do with the baby,” Arnold said. “She ends up in the hospital in this new Aquaman 2 movie and doesn’t really come out until the end to kind of wrap things up but all of the interactions with Momoa’s character and certainly the action scenes were taken out.”

Arnold added that Heard was almost cut from the film entirely, but Momoa and director James Wan advocated for her to stay.

Last week’s proceedings featured testimony from Heard’s sister and friends; Depp’s one-time best friend, Bruce Witkin; his former agent, Tracey Jacobs; his ex-business manager, Joel Mandel; and his former girlfriend, actress Ellen Barkin.

According to the New York Post, model Kate Moss is expected to take the stand on Wednesday. Depp’s lawyers were spotted fist-pumping after Heard mentioned her name during her testimony saying she had heard a rumour that the actor had pushed the British model down a flight of stairs.

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“(My sister’s) back was to the staircase, and Johnny swings at her,” Heard testified. “I don’t hesitate, I don’t wait — I just, in my head, instantly think of Kate Moss and stairs.”

It was the first time she actually hit him, she said.

“In all of my relationship to date with Johnny, I hadn’t landed a blow,” she said. “And I, for the first time, hit him — like, actually hit him. Square in the face.”

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Heard previously aired the staircase allegation during her testimony at Depp’s U.K. defamation trial in 2020, according to The New York Post.

“I remembered information I had heard (that) he pushed a former girlfriend — I believe it was Kate Moss — down the stairs,” Heard testified while describing the same fight involving her sister and Depp. “I had heard this rumour from two people and it was fresh in my mind.”

Although Depp didn’t take the stand, the day wasn’t uneventful. As Depp blew kisses and waved to his supporters in the Virginia courtroom, a woman in the gallery reportedly yelled, “Johnny I love you! Our souls are connected!”

According to Law & Crime Network host Angenette Levy, the woman was escorted out of the building after she lifted up a baby and screamed, “This baby is yours!”

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