Aquaman’s Amber Heard on playing Mera: Zack Snyder had me at ‘warrior queen’

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Jun 21, 2018, 5:25 PM EDT

Aquaman director James Wan may be working Amber Heard into a much bigger role for Mera than the Queen of Atlantis got to play in her Justice League flyby late last year. But it was Justice League director Zack Snyder who first persuaded her that the DC Cinematic Universe’s plans for Mera amounted to more than “making bubbles” as Aquaman’s sidekick.

“[W]hen I spoke to [Snyder] he got me at ‘warrior queen,’” Heard recently told Entertainment Weekly. “He said, ‘You get a sword and a crown’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, you know how to play to your audience.’”

Heard said she’s never been interested in playing a female character who stands on the sidelines while the guys battle it out, since she’s “somebody who’s always been allergic to being the damsel, the two-dimensional archetype of what women are often limited to in this industry — especially in the superhero world.”

But both in the comics as well as on the big screen, DC’s equal-partner emphasis on the role Mera has to play appealed to Heard — especially once she dove (no pun intended) into Aquaman’s source material.

“I read a couple of the comic books and I was struck by how Mera was introduced,” she explained. “She comes into this one scene in the first comic I read where Arthur [Jason Momoa, aka Aquaman] is attempting to save the town from a flood and she helps him. She has an equal part in saving this village.”

That’s not to say that Mera will do nothing but kick ass when Aquaman hits movie screens later this year. Heard says fans will get a “fuller picture” of Mera that shows her vulnerabilities and struggles, too — especially when it comes to operating “in the surface world in civilian clothes.”

What’s it like working with the famously gregarious Momoa? Apparently, it’s about like most people think. “He’d make the worst ninja ever…He’s allergic to not making people laugh or be keeping people engaged around him all the time,” Heard joked. 

If there’s good chemistry between Aquaman’s two biggest stars (and judging from their social media posts celebrating the end of principal photography last year, there definitely seems to be), that can only be a good thing. Aquaman splashes into theaters beginning Dec. 21.