Amber Heard: “Probably I’m pregnant and divorced when this interview appears”
NEW YORK – In The Rum Diary, one of the most memorable images is that of Amber Heard grabbing Johnny Depp’s leg while he’s doing his best to steer a vintage Corvette along a seaside road. It wasn’t long before the sparks that flew between their characters soon translated into love and marriage between the impossibly handsome couple in real life. For fans of Amber Heard, however, the news may have come as a surprise given her previous affairs with women and her avowed independent streak. But the sensationally beautiful actress has never seen any contradiction between committing to love and enjoying the freedom that comes with being her own woman.
“I never expected to get married, but I fell in love and it was something that I wanted to do,” Heard says. “Being married doesn’t mean giving up your freedom – it’s a choice you make to share your life with someone and still be very free and happily married at the same time.”
Though Heard was fully aware that marrying one of the world’s most famous movie stars could well overshadow her own career, she recently appeared in Magic Mike XXL and has several important new projects in the pipeline. She will soon be making her way to the Venice Film Festival as part of a highly anticipated film – THE DANISH GIRL – co-starring Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne as a transgendered woman. Ironically, her husband Johnny’s latest project, Black Mass, about the life of legendary Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, will also be making its world premiere at the festival.
Later this year, the 29-year-old Heard will appear opposite Theo James, Jason Isaac, and fashion It Girl Cara Delevingne in the crime thriller London Fields, based on the eponymous book by Martin Amis and in which Johhny Depp also enjoys a supporting role.
Heard, a native of Texas who grew up shooting a variety of guns on her family’s ranch, now makes her home with Johnny on his sprawling Los Angeles estate where she often helps him look after his children Lily-Rose (16) and Jack (13) from his previous relationship with singer Vanessa Paradis. Depp recently put up his former French chateau up for sale at a cool $28 million asking price.
Next year Heard will be seen appearing in two indie dramas: When I Live My Life Over Again, playing an aspiring musician trying to escape the shadow of her famous father (Christopher Walken); and The Adderall Diaries, in the role of a reporter who falls in love with a dissolute writer (James Franco).
Q: Amber, you’re one of the most outspoken women in Hollywood. Do you revel in your sense of being a free spirit?
HEARD: I’ve always been a very curious person and someone who is very open-minded. That’s what drives me in life and it’s why I travel so much and try to keep learning new things. I think my sense of independence and wanting to live as fearlessly as I can is what defines me best. It’s also the quality which I think draws some people to me because they appreciate my adventurous attitude towards everything in life. I love being able to enjoy everything about the world around me.
Q: Now that your profile is much higher because of your marriage to Johnny Depp, have you had to adjust to being in the spotlight more?
HEARD: It amazes me when I think about everything that is being reported about me and my marriage. I never read those stories myself, but my friends keep me informed about all the gossip. Probably I’m pregnant and divorced when this interview appears. (Laughs)
Q: What’s married life like? Have you changed at all?
HEARD: I’m very happy. Marriage hasn’t really changed anything between us. We’ve been together for several years now and we know each other very well and enjoy our time together. I don’t think your sense of who you are changes that much when you’re in a relationship or marriage. What’s beautiful is that you’re able to learn more about another person and that deepens your understanding of each other. That’s a very fascinating process.
Q: Aside from your personal life, your career seems to hitting its stride these days?
HEARD: I’ve been pretty happy with the kinds of roles I’ve been getting to play. I’m looking for interesting projects where I don’t have to play the sexy girl and I have some psychological layers I can explore. I’m looking for complex and intelligent characters that are going to challenge and excite me.
I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to work with actors like Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Christopher Walken (Where I Live my Life Over Again) and James Franco. When you find yourself amongst great talents like that you experience a tremendous sense of satisfaction and it helps you raise your game as well.
Q: The Danish Girl is going to attract a lot of attention for its tackling of the issue of transgendered people and the story of this Danish man who was one of the first persons ever to have gender-reassignment surgery?
HEARD: It’s an issue that’s gaining more and more attention and it’s going to help those people in the transgender community to deal with the social and sexual stigma that’s attached to gender issues.
Advances in the medical field have made it much easier for people to change gender and that gives a lot more hope to people who can more easily choose to live as male or female.
Q: What would you like to say about the character you play in the film?
HEARD: I play Oola Paulson, a ballet dancer in 1920s Copenhagen who is a very famous and flamboyant figure from that era and was a close friend of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener who are played by Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Oola is one of the very few people who wasn’t afraid or shocked by Eddie’s character’s transformation and wasn’t interested in passing judgement on him and how he wants to live and the person he chooses to be.
Gender identity was not a big issue in Greek and Roman times where notions of gay or straight were not so rigidly defined as they are now. A film like this can open up the discussion and break down a lot of taboos and misconceptions surrounding gender and sexual identity issues. And Eddie gives an incredible performance. I was very proud to be part of this film.
Q: You turn 30 next year. What are your thoughts on this point in your life and career?
HEARD: I can’t wait to turn 30. It’s significant for me because every year that goes by I feel better about who I am and my perspective on my life. I’m becoming more confident and aware of what I want to accomplish and the things I want out of life. It’s a good feeling.
I try to follow my instincts and aspirations and see where that takes. I like to think I’m part of a generation that likes to defy rules and traditional kinds of thinking and expectations. I like being an assertive and self-confident woman who doesn’t believe in conforming to all the myths and stereotypes that restrict our freedom and are meant to classify us according to narrow-minded thinking.
Q: Was acting something you chose as a form of personal liberation?
HEARD: At first acting and modelling which I did when I was still a teenager was something that enabled me to escape living in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Even though Texas is a huge state, I felt trapped. So even though I wasn’t legally allowed to work on film sets because I wasn’t 18 yet, I kept forging my parents’ signature and carrying around fake IDs so I could get hired.
I was desperate to travel and explore the world. I was a big reader and literature gave me the desire to be very adventurous about life. Acting was also a way of reaching deeper inside my head and also a means of understanding more about people, observing others, trying to figure out how people behave and the kinds of relationships we form.
Q: You left school when you were 16?
HEARD: I couldn’t wait to get out of this very uptight, all-girls’ Catholic school in Austin (Texas). I read a lot and literature taught me to develop a very rebellious side when it came to all the conformity I saw at school. I knew that individuals are by nature not meant to behave the same way and follow exactly the same paths or rules in life. I was very restless and I was desperate to be on the road and live my own life.
Acting was my personal means of not just earning a living but enabling me to live like a nomad and travel as much as I could. I enjoy the sense of freedom that comes from working on one film after another, living in one city and then moving to another, and just feeling this incredible rush that comes from creating your personal road movie.
Q: Do you live by any one principle or motto?
HEARD: I’ve always wanted to be in charge of where I’m headed and the master of my fate!