Amber Heard: ‘Nothing could have prepared me for 2020’

Amber Heard has opened up about her experiences this year, telling Sky News: “Nothing could have prepared me for 2020.”

In a UK exclusive interview, the star explained how her new TV series, based on a Stephen King novel, forced her to ask questions about being faced with “unbelievable circumstances and incredible adversity, and everything being on the line”.

Eerily prescient, The Stand is about a flu which kills 99% of the population, and “a power struggle of good and evil”.

Filming on the show finished in March, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Image: Depp leaving court with his lawyer David Sherborne earlier this year

Heard, who plays one of the survivors of the outbreak, says despite the bizarre timing, nothing could have prepared her for the reality of 2020 – a year in which she has faced many challenges.

The 34-year-old actress became headline news this summer when she appeared as The Sun’s star witness in her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s high-profile libel case against the newspaper.

In November, Judge Justice Nicol ruled that the tabloid’s report on allegations that Depp was violent towards Heard was “substantially true”.

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At the moment, Heard cannot say too much about how relieved and vindicated she must feel, as Depp has applied to appeal the judgment, and is also suing her in the US over a separate Washington Post article written two years ago.

If the Virginia trial goes ahead (it’s currently scheduled for May 2021), both will face the media circus all over again.

Heard tells Sky News: “Nothing could have prepared me for 2020, let’s face it. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. I don’t think anything could have prepared me.”

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court a little later than usual on 17 July
Image: Both stars could again face a media circus, but this time in the US

In a year that has seen havoc on film and TV sets around the world, putting a stop to most production, The Stand is “timely”, she says, given that they managed to wrap just in the nick of time.

“We stopped filming at the end of March, luckily it was at the end of filming, but still I had to go do reshoots later when things started to open back up again, so it is ironic that we had to stop filming on our show about a global pandemic and a power struggle of good and evil, and a government and society that will shut down after a pandemic… right before one. It’s really interesting timing.”

The Stand is King’s one of Kings most beloved books, and the longest.

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Heard plays Nadine Cross, and while fans may know what to expect from the character, for those unfamiliar with the story she starts off a total mystery.

“That’s exactly what drew me to Nadine, her complexity and the inability to put her into a category or easily define her is exactly what I think makes her compelling and made her the most interesting character for me to read,” the actress says.

“I don’t want to play a character that’s easy to understand or whose motivations are transparent, it’s more interesting to play a character who is functioning like many of us are behind several layers of masks that change, depending on what our situation is and who we are dealing with.

“And Nadine is like that on steroids, the stakes are really high for her and everything’s on the line, so that was a challenge but exactly why I was drawn to her.”

Amber Heard as Nadine Cross and Gordon Cormier as Joe In The Stand. Pic: Robert Falconer/CBS
Image: Heard as Nadine Cross and Gordon Cormier as Joe in The Stand. Pic: Robert Falconer/CBS

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The series, which also stars Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden and Alexander Skarsgard, looks at how people cope when left to survive on their own.

While some band together, others choose to go it alone. Some cannot stand the new circumstances and choose to take their own lives.

Heard will not be drawn on whether she rates herself as a fighter or not – but thinks everyone will have asked themselves similar questions this year.

Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail in The Stand. Pic: Robert Falconer/CBS
Image: Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail in The Stand. Pic: Robert Falconer/CBS

“That’s part of what I like about the series in general is that it forces the audience to think: ‘What would I do when faced with unbelievable circumstances and incredible adversity and everything being on the line?’

“‘What would you do? What would you fight for? And then, you know, ‘who would you be?’ I like that this forces you to think about things in that way.

“And I know anyone who’s been through this year can relate – that’s exactly what we have found ourselves asking ourselves a lot.”

This year has definitely been a difficult one for Heard.

Towards the end of Depp’s libel trial, she gave a statement outside court saying it had been “incredibly painful” to relive her break-up, along with the “traumatic and intimate details” of her life being “broadcast to the entire world”. She concluded by saying she hoped to finally move on.

Now, The Stand is likely to attract attention for her acting – a spotlight the actress will no doubt prefer.

The Stand will be streaming on Starzplay from Sunday 3 January.

Source : Sky News