Who is Walter Hamada? Movie exec lays bare Amber Heard’s ‘lack of chemistry’ with Jason Momoa
Hamada said, 'Editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the movie. There was a concern it took a lot of effort to get there'
On Tuesday, May 24, Walter Hamada, President of Warner Bros Pictures' DC-Based Film Production, testified via video deposition, denying that anything said by Johnny Depp or his lawyer Adam Waldman influenced Amber Heard's compensation. According to the testimony, in postproduction of Aquaman, Warner Bros. had to 'fabricate' chemistry between Heard and Jason Momoa, and her part in the sequel was not influenced in any way by what Depp said.
Hamada did acknowledge, though, that 'conversations about recasting' her character caused a weeks-long delay in confirming Heard's participation in 'Aquaman 2'. The issues were addressed after the first Aquaman film wrapped due to the 'chemistry' between Heard and Momoa, according to Hamada. He said, "Editorially they were able to make that relationship work in the movie. There was a concern it took a lot of effort to get there."
Warner Bros was considering "someone with better more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa and move forward that way." When they were greenlighting 'Aquaman 2', Hamada stated he spoke with Momoa about the chemistry issue, but he wouldn't say what he said. "It's not uncommon for two leads to not have chemistry," Hamada said during cross-examination by Heard's attorney, Elaine Bredehoft.
"It's movie magic and editorial - the ability to put performance together. You can fabricate that chemistry. If you watch the movie they look like they had great chemistry. It took a lot of effort to get there. Sometimes it's very easy and sometimes it's hard," Hamada added.
Bredehoft inquired as to what the chemistry between Heard and Momoa was like. Hamada responded: "It's like what makes a movie star a movie star. You know it when you see it and it wasn't there." Bredehoft questioned: "What did you do to fabricate the chemistry?" "It's editorial," Hamada explained. "Pick the right takes, the right moments and put scenes together. The music in the scene makes a big difference. Just the magic of post production, editing, sound, music etc."
Bredehoft asked whether Hamada meant 'literally falsifying' the chemistry or something else, such as music selection. "That's what we do in post production," Hamada explained. "On any production you're doing that. This one was more difficult because of the lack of chemistry but they were able to get it to a place where the end result works and it's great."
Hamada denied that Warner Bros. was considering paying Heard extra for 'Aquaman 2' because a "big part of our philosophy" was holding actors to their original agreements. According to Heard's legal team, she could have increased her compensation from $2 million for the original Aquaman film to $6 million for the sequel.
Hamada refuted Heard's assertions that her character, Mera, had her part drastically reduced, including losing an action scene. When pressed by one of Depp's lawyers, he stated that the "character's involvement was what it was from the beginning."
"From the early stages of development, the movie was building around the character of Arthur and Orm," according to Hamada, who plays Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson, respectively. They, not Heard, were "always the co-leads of the movie." 'The film was always presented as a buddy comedy between Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson,' Hamada added.
A text from James Wan, director of Aquaman, sent to Heard in August 2018 was shared with the court that read, "You rated really high with the audience!!!" Hamada said, "It would have been after a test screening." Heard's legal team decided not to call Depp to the stand, as had been scheduled. After a heated exchange of words from both sides, the judge in the Depp vs. Heard case denied a plea to strike Amber Heard's $100 million complaint.