Actress Amber Heard is currently locked in multiple court battles with former husband Johnny Depp over allegations of domestic violence. However, Heard is also involved in a different kind of fight. She practices martial arts for her role as the Atlantean princess Mera, wife to Jason Momoa's titular role as Aquaman in Aquaman (2018) and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). The former film was her first major role in Hollywood.
In the early clips, we can see that Heard is taking the training seriously and hopefully progressing well. Though, she does find time to have a laugh with the camera after bouncing away from a boxing combination. It is difficult to find much to praise about her technique with the training sword or her bouncing forward while throwing weak punches. The scene where she traps an assailant's arm before dramatically flipping him and then performing the same move on a second attacker is more comical than it should be, but this is Hollywood, not Albuquerque.
While her form is unlikely to win her many fans among dedicated practitioners, the platform will hopefully encourage younger ladies and girls to take up a form of martial arts.
Heard reprises her role as Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). The film is currently in post-production. When not in court, Heard is said to be practicing strength training, yoga, and martial arts for up to five hours a day.
Heard has other connections to martial arts as well. Her former best friend is UFC women's bantamweight and featherweight Raquel "Rocky" Pennington, who is currently on a four-fight win streak. During a taped deposition, Pennington described why they are no longer close, and an incident that got physical.
"We do not speak. We are not enemies," said Pennington, as transcribed by RadarOnLine. "We grew apart ... I wanted to spend more time with other people in my life and prioritize other relationships."
Pennington also testified about a notorious Thanksgiving incident that allegedly got physical.
"We were setting up for Thanksgiving and we were looking for maybe some glasses or dishware and we couldn't find them anywhere," she said. "She finally found them in a place I thought I looked and we started arguing about that. She thought I was(n't) looking hard enough.
"I believed that I pushed her. She [Heard] either pushed or hit me back."
In a final connection with martial arts, at the age of 22, Heard appeared in Never Back Down (2008). The martial arts documentary focuses on Jake Tyler, who moves from Iowa to Florida, attends a new high school, and joins an underground MMA club. Baja Miller/Amber Heard was dating the school bully, but eventually falls for Tyler.
So call the current court battle Never Back Down III.
Author Nicholas Westerby has trained in boxing and kickboxing since 1995. You can watch his UFC retrospectives, predictions, and fight card reactions on his Youtube channel.