Had it not been for Justice League director Zack Snyder, Amber Heard might not have ever considered playing Mera in director James Wan's upcoming Aquaman. Some words of encouragement helped convince Heard to take the role, despite her initial hesitation.
Stuck between a battle pitting the underwater kingdom of Atlantis against the surface world above, the titular Arthur Curry/Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa) is ripe with internal and external struggles in the upcoming comic adaptation Aquaman from Warner Bros. Unsure of his status as king, Aquaman is forced to deal with dangers that threaten his ocean and a budding revolution stemming from his own people. Diverging a bit from the DCEU - given that Wan stated that the movie will be far more "separate" from recent DC movies - Aquaman also stars Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, and Amber Heard - who, incidentally, almost didn't star in the movie, had it not been for a conversation between herself and Snyder.
In an interview with EW, Heard was adamant about the fact that she had no interest in playing the classic "damsel in distress." In fact, she went so far as saying that she was "allergic to being the damsel," having gone out of her way throughout her career to avoid roles that undermined female characters. However, after speaking with Snyder prior to taking the role, Heard explained that he convinced her that the role of Mera, an underwater warrior with hydrokinetic and telepathic powers, was the furthest thing from a helpless character. Once he explained that Mera was a "warrior queen," she was sold. She said (via Comic Book):
“I’m allergic to being the damsel, the two-dimensional archetype of what women are often limited to in this industry, especially in the superhero world... Zack got me at ‘warrior queen.’ He said, ‘You get a sword and a crown,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay.’”
Heard is no stranger to playing, strong, confident, and dominant roles in movies like Drive Angry and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. That said, she has an eclectic filmography, having also starred in movies like The Danish Girl, Magic Mike XXL, and the stoner-comedy Pineapple Express. Mera will be her first role in a superhero movie (though she did already show up in a cameo in last year's Justice League).
Even though the bulk of the movie will be centered around Momoa's Aquaman, Heard will have the opportunity to showcase the physical strength and fortitude that attracted her to the role in the first place. And now that production has wrapped on the movie, her high praise of the character is encouraging to any fans worried about the way recent DC movies have depicted female characters (save for Wonder Woman). Though the DCEU missed the mark in movies like Justice League and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Aquaman appears to show that Warner Bros. has likely learned from its mistakes.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019