If you’re interested in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard divorce saga, you’re probably pro-Johnny. According to predominant public opinion, he’s a Legend and she’s trying to smear his name and squeeze him for cash.
To put it mildly, this so-called ‘gold-digger’ doesn’t seem to have much of a fan base prepared to come to her defence.
So who is Amber Heard? Before she filed for divorce, I’d have thought:
- she’s a mean Margot Robbie
- she stars in dodgy Nicolas Cage movies
- she’s married to an actor that isn’t Nic Cage, but is similarly weird and old enough to be her dad.
At the moment, she has a part to play in the expanding Warner Bros/DC cinematic universe. I say ‘at the moment’, because internet commentators are hoping she’ll lose her role as Mera in Justice League and Aquaman. Something to do with accusing Johnny Depp of domestic violence.
Amber got to know Johnny on the 2009 set of the film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary. She had beaten higher profile starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for the very slight and purely decorative role of Depp’s love interest. She turned 23 during filming, Depp was 45.
The Rum Diary ranks as one of the biggest flops of Saint Depp’s career. (Really, for a beloved icon, audiences aren’t interested when he isn’t doing silly walks and gimmicks.) I watched it a few days ago, and it’s actually an OK movie with some funny moments and enjoyable performances, especially from Depp and Richard Jenkins.
People have always questioned Amber’s motives for marrying the multimillionaire superstar, but Rum Diary-era Depp still looked like the handsome Johnny of old. (Officially, they didn’t start dating until 2012.)
Amber is very beautiful like Angelina Jolie or Marilyn Monroe, but cinema-goers haven’t been able to see any vulnerability or softness in her turns as yet another femme fatale, scream queen or hot chick.
She had a supporting role in The Danish Girl as a bohemian ballerina, where it was a genuine surprise to see her in genteel Oscar bait instead of genre fare. Amber seemed so grateful for the gig she got a bit overenthusiastic, but there was heart to the performance at least.
The clip below is of Amber as the young Charlize Theron in an upsetting scene from 2005’s North Country. She’s virtually unrecognizable, more girl-next-door than the sex sirens she portrays now.
I really wanted to get a sense of Amber as an actress, which hasn’t been easy with her body of work. I expect she must be used to losing roles to Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie and Kristen Stewart.
At this point Amber is never going to become one of the biggest names in the industry. If marrying Depp was a planned career move it was a bad one, because having your tabloid persona overshadow your work is perilous for this generation of young actresses.
Perhaps after her divorce she’ll no longer be a big-ticket gossip draw, and will turn her attention to her career. Maybe indie cinema beckons.
I still maintain she’s a little hard on the ears, but it’ll be interesting to see where she goes next.