Jessica Kovacevic, Heard’s agent at WME, was the last of a series of witnesses called by Heard’s attorneys on Thursday. After spending several days defending her from Depp’s defamation claim, Heard’s team is now on offense, seeking to prove their $100 million counterclaim that Heard’s career was harmed by Depp’s lawyer, who called her allegations a “hoax.”
Heard was the female lead in “Aquaman,” which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide upon its release in December 2018. Kovacevic said that should have led to more roles in TV and film, along with endorsement deals. But aside from “Aquaman 2,” Heard has shot only a single independent film, “In the Fire,” in the last two years.
Kovacevic said she that she was supposed to star in an Amazon film with Gael Garcia Bernal, but that she was dropped from the project.
“No one can say out loud, ‘We’re taking this away from her because of this bad press,’ because it’s nothing she did,” Kovacevic said. “It’s all hearsay, and it’s all whatever. But there’s no other reason.”
Heard is countersuing over three statements made by Adam Waldman, Depp’s attorney, in the media in 2020. In those statements, Waldman called Heard’s allegations an “abuse hoax,” and alleged that Depp had been the victim of an “ambush.”
Earlier on Thursday, Heard’s team called a technical expert, Ron Schnell, who had done a study of several million negative tweets about Heard. Schnell testified that about a quarter of the tweets within his sample referenced Waldman.
Kovacevic testified that Waldman’s comments “added fuel to the fire.”
“No one is going to say to me, ‘Oh, we can’t hire her because of these tweets,’” Kovacevic said. “They just don’t want to hire someone that has bad press around them from these accusations. No one wants someone who’s being accused of being a liar, and making something up and abusing somebody — no one wants that association with their project.”
Heard got a $2 million deal for her appearance in “Aquaman 2,” which is due out next year. Kovacevic said that she should have been able to renegotiate for a higher fee, given the success of the first film. Heard has testified that her role in the sequel was reduced and she is not even sure if she will appear in it at all. She also testified that she had to fight to keep from being dropped from that film.
Kovacevic noted that Jason Momoa — who starred as Aquaman — has gotten a lot more work since then, but that “even a small percentage of that did not happen for her.” She said that Heard tested well with “Aquaman” audiences and got good reviews, and that the only logical explanation for her career difficulties was the online anger.
Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, suggested that Heard should be making about $5 million to $10 million per year over five years, and that her career trajectory should be more like that of Ana de Armas.
“That would be a good comp,” Kovacevic said.
The trial will resume on Monday.