Interview | Amber Heard says she is very lucky to play Princess Mera in 'Aquaman'
Playing a warrior princess for the first time, Amber Heard, who plays Mera in Aquaman, tells us about how she loved playing a warrior queen, working on getting just the right look for her character.
Playing a warrior princess for the first time, Amber Heard, who plays Mera in Aquaman, talks about how she loved playing a warrior queen, working on getting just the right look for her character. With no background of the character, Heard says, she delved deep into the comic books for some context, only to emerge with a thorough understanding and more importantly, respect for the woman Mera is. Being a voice against domestic and sexual violence, Heard is glad that her character is not just in the film to glamourise it.
Excerpts from a chat with the talented actress...
What made you say yes to be part of Aquaman?
My first reaction was trepidation. I was pretty unfamiliar with comic books and superhero movies at the time, so I was functioning from this vague image of a ridiculously oversexualised caricature of a woman, which, knowing nothing of the genre, I thought was to be expected.
But when I dove into the Aquaman comic, I was intrigued to discover that Mera is this incredibly powerful warrior queen, who is witty and independent and completely a superhero in her own right. I was like, ‘A sword and a crown? I can get behind that!’ So, I feel very lucky to get to play her and to be working with people who are committed to maintaining and protecting the integrity of the character as she is in the comics — which have always highlighted Mera’s strength and agency and resourcefulness — and not just shoehorn her into the damsel-in-distress archetype we’ve seen a thousand times.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in playing Mera?
Well, I think the real challenge for me was playing a character who is extra-human and also inherently human. It was kind of a balancing act to maintain her nature as this powerful Atlantean while allowing her humanity to come through in the same way that so many fans of the comic have connected to. So, that was a hard balance, and something I thought about a lot while we were filming.
How did director James Wan communicate his vision for Atlantis to you?
James didn’t really try to explain to us what was in that brain of his, because it would have been impossible. Looking at his notes and concept imagery, and seeing how his brain worked in organising this world, you just get the sense that you have to trust him. I couldn’t hear the song, but the notes were so powerful that I knew I could just trust the music in him. However, it’s particularly difficult to imagine what the final result will be, because of the importance of digital effects in the storytelling. I feel lucky that James is James! I don’t know if I could have trusted another director in the same way.