As with almost every young actress in Hollywood Amber Heard is incredibly, devastatingly gorgeous. However, unlike many of her counterparts she is also incredibly poised, surprisingly eloquent, and most unexpected of all, quite well read. In our one on one interview, Heard discusses Drive Angry, her art, her desire to be more than just the bathing suit, her love of Bret Easton Ellis and Hunter S. Thompson, and speaks frankly about her distaste for the film adaptation of The Infomers.
Read on for the interview and a short review of her upcoming horror film, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.
I just saw the footage and the concept art for Drive Angry and it looks ridiculously cool.
Heard: It is. It’s really fucking cool.
I was impressed by the scope. Up until the press release for Comic-Con I didn’t know this was supernatural. The press release just said that [Nic Cage] had broken out of prison, that he was an escaped convict.
So how much, is it all a supernatural film? Is it sort of revealed as we go, or do we know this from the get go?
Heard: Yeah, I think it’s kind of revealed as we go. Although I think the intention at first with marketing was to not reveal that it was supernatural. But I think that’s changing because so much of what our characters do and how they do it is based on its’ supernatural core. So I think how much their planning on revealing and how they’re planning on marketing it is changing.
So your character in the film, Piper. It looks like she’s running around, jumping on the hood of cars, firing guns. Where does she come from? Because in the footage it looks like she was introduced being attacked by someone whom Nic Cage comes along and dispatches rather quickly.
Heard: Yeah, that scene that you saw, it has Piper, she walks in on, umm…on her…umm…actually I don’t want to give that away. But she walks in on her boyfriend; the owner of this 69 Charger that becomes essentially a character in the movie. And they have a disagreement and piper does not use her words, she uses her fists. She’s got a bad attitude and a short temper, but a good heart. And I think that’s what Milton, played by Nic Cage, likes about her. And they form a sort of paternal bond. A kind of father/daughter or action hero/sidekick duo. And they fight crime and save the world.
So it’s a little bit different from the typical movie where Nic Cage would fall in love with the woman who is much too young for him.
Heard: Right, right, there’s not the romantic element there, which I liked because it really preserves the heart of this movie. This movie is a high octane action flick, but it has a heart. It has a real human element that we can all relate to and I think that’s important to remember in these movies that can be so absurd or so effects driven that they forget to have that human element that makes us care about the characters, and this doesn’t and doesn’t lose that. It has real heart and the relationship that Nic and I have really embodies that.
I’m sure you get a lot of scripts or offers where your character is just the girlfriend or just the love interest, so it must be nice to get to do something like this where you get to get up there and fight with guns and stuff.
Heard: It is. It’s my job in Hollywood to find roles where I get to be a character not a bathing suit. Don’t get me wrong; as you might have noticed from my resume, I have done the bathing suit. And I have — and don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful for all of those bathing suit roles I have been given, or been trusted with. Some have been hits, some have been misses. And I am grateful for everything. It just doesn’t interest me for too long. I would much rather be an empowered character whether it’s good or evil or anywhere in between. I’d much rather be a character who is in charge of her actions and isn’t just there for the decoration. And as an artist I want to create characters. I want to exist as some other character and not an outfit, or lack thereof.
About those roles, I actually have a poster for The Informers on my wall at home because I’m a big Bret Easton Ellis fan —
Heard: *She sighs, loudly*
Were you working closely with him on the film, or was he not too involved with it by the time you got involved?
Heard: Uh, to be honest with you, the reason I took that movie. The reason it was offered to me, the reason I took it was because I was such a Bret Easton Ellis fan. I think he’s so, he’s beautifully twisted and romantically dark, and there’s something I really, really love about the way he tells a story.
He’s so eloquent in his obscenity.
Heard: Yes! Yes, that’s exactly what it is. And I wanted to be, and I thought that I could trust a script based upon the merit of its’ writer. And the problem is you can’t trust a product based upon the merit of its’ script and you can’t trust a script based just on the merit of its’ writer because there are so many other people who make the movie. And in my case, I did a lot of things in that movie, a lot of scenes in that movie that, other than the ones that made it in. And the point, I guess, because the original storyline had been completely dropped and butchered and malformed, all they had left were nudity shots to bring people in. And so… that’s all that made it in.
I read the original screenplay actually and it was much bigger.
Heard: Yeah. You know, and I couldn’t believe how much it had been changed and altered. And I think that movie could have been something special. And I took a lot of risks in doing it because I believed in the project and I believed in the writer. And it turned out to be something else.
Well, did you read his new novel? Have you seen Imperial Bedrooms yet?
Heard: No. I am about to buy it though. I’ve heard a lot about it though.
Because a lot of it is about the making of The Informers. I really like the first half of it more than the second half. But it really has some good bits, some very precise prose. But another novel based project you have coming up is The Rum Diary, which is important to me because I’m actually named after Hunter S. Thompson.
Heard: Are you really? That’s so cool! That’s so cool. I’m a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan. And I loved The Rum Diary. It’s pure Hunter S. Thompson and not gonzo and I love, I love its’ innocence and its’ heart and its’ story and I was honored to be part of any project even slightly associated with Hunter S. Thompson. And to make it with somebody like Johnny Depp, who has and intimate connection with him personally, I was, I am, I couldn’t have found a better team. Br Bruce Robinson’s an amazing artist. I think he’s a brilliant writer, author, and he’s also someone I trust very much with the subject matter. So, I was, I was so excited and honored to be part of this project. I haven’t seen it, but I’m looking forward to it.
So, Johnny Depp in that isn’t playing the super gonzo version we saw in Fear and Loathing [in Las Vegas] he’s playing more of a grounded, closer to the Bill Murray version in Where the Buffalo Roam?
Heard: Yeah. I think you’ll notice in the book that it’s Hunter S. Thompson, it was his coming of age. It was his coming into his own as a writer and it was pre-gonzo really. And I think when he personifies Hunter S. Thompson he carries that because Hunter S. Thompson as a character himself hasn’t reached that yet, so.
Well, they’re telling me that we’re out of time, but it was great to talk with you.
Heard: Thank you, you too.
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As promised, a brief review of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane:
Part slasher flick, part coming-of-age drama, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane takes the typical slasher template and elevates it with the help of stylish visuals, great kills, and a stellar turn from Amber Heard.
The much talked about but little seen film (thanks to a lengthly series of legal issues and chain of ownership) tells the story of a weekend getaway between six friends, one of whom is the most unattainable and still virginal girl in school. Their night of drunken debauchery is interrupted by a brutal slasher who has a killer crush on Mandy.
Most of Mandy Lane is very good. Jonathan Levine, in what was to be his directorial debut had the film not sat on the shelf for years, makes ample use of his micro budget creating interesting set pieces with his dynamic, always moving cameras. The film also makes excellent use of music, which plays under almost every frame of the film. the kills here are very special. I don’t remember the last time I heard an entire audience cringe at once. The clever implimentation of invasive violence really makes this film stand out.
The work is not perfect. It’s definitely from a first time director, and Levine sometimes overdoes it with the style, but by and large it is an impressive effort that is worth seeking out if and when it ever becomes available.