After the 2022 defamation trial made them the media and public’s principal topics of fascination, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have become monumentally renowned, well beyond the notoriety that Disney or DC can provide them. The ruination that awaited the stars beyond the court’s walls was so dramatically cruel and corrosive to Amber Heard that she had to travel an ocean away to find safety with her young daughter in another country entirely in the wake of the broadcast courtroom drama.
While Heard waits years before she can really contemplate returning to Hollywood, the industry remembers one of her final, most contentious, and disastrously terrible films before the walls came tumbling down.
Amber Heard’s Flop Film Features a Surprising Cameo
Amber Heard’s Hollywood career had began to gather up steam in the previous decade, notably with her casting in the massive DC ensemble production, Aquaman, alongside Jason Momoa. While her 2018 picture remains her greatest blockbuster, the same year also saw her worst disaster, London Fields. The controversial film, directed by Matthew Cullen, which went through a 5-year production process beginning in 2013 and ultimately premiered in 2018, currently has a 0% rating on the film reviewer website Rotten Tomatoes.
Despite the terrible circumstances under which the picture was released (details of which are addressed below), not all portions of the film were utterly uncomfortable. Amber Heard, the protagonist, was dating Pirates actor Johnny Depp throughout the production in 2013, and their embryonic relationship was amorous enough for the latter (and much greater celebrity) to fill the sets of her picture with his transient presence. The short appearance drew a lot of attention, but it wasn’t enough to spare London Fields from the ensuing devastation. The picture, which cost $8 million to produce, grossed just $487,420 at the box office.
London Fields’ Difficult Production and Premiere
The film was declared unadaptable in all its neo-noir sensibility after being adapted from Martin Amis’ 1989 dark comedy murder thriller of the same name – a warning that director Matthew Cullen regretted not heeding after the film’s premiere. London Fields was supposed to be presented at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (one of the world’s major film culture events), but it never made it due to a barrage of lawsuits filed from all angles.
After the film was withdrawn from the TIFF lineup, director Matthew Cullen sued the producers in 2015, accusing them of investment fraud. They counter-sued Cullen, alleging that the filmmaker went $4.5 million over budget. Amber Heard was sued for $10 million by producers Jordan Gertner and Chris Hanley (The Virgin Suicides, American Psycho) in 2016, claiming her of ruining the film’s presentation at TIFF and failing to “comply with her clear-cut contractual obligations.” Amber Heard, the main actress, also filed a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that the producers breached a nudity provision in her contract.
The picture was released on October 26, 2018, two months before Aquaman reached theaters and her Washington Post op-ed was published, sending Heard and Depp into a cyclone of career-ending libel lawsuits and defamation trials across two continents.