Blonde bad girl Amber Heard, 27, is not your typical southern belle.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Heard shocked the entertainment industry when she announced her engagement to one of Hollywood’s most desired A-listers, Johnny Depp, 50.
Before Depp, Heard came out at the GLAAD awards in 2010 with her previous partner, Hawaiian photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2011 claiming her disbelief in labels and described her sexuality as ‘fluid.’
The undeniable beauty has recently been called ‘the next Angelina Jolie’ for her uncensored and refreshing honesty, as well as her fast-pace action roles such as Paranoia (2013) and Machete Kills (2013). Now Heard is starring alongside Kevin Costner, 59, in the upcoming thriller, 3 Days to Kill, in which she plays a ruthless and violent CIA agent.
Her career began in minor TV roles to the big screen; Heard is one of those rare and endearing Hollywood starlets who worked her way up the chain.
Wearing a beige print dress, her hair is long, dark blonde and glamorous, and she’s wearing sky high stilettos. A natural beauty, her face is almost without any make-up.
Q: Did you have to learn how to hold a gun properly to do this role believably?
HEARD: Oh no, I was raised with guns. I was raised with shooting; I went shooting with my dad after school about four days a week when I was growing up.
Q: So you are a good shot?
HEARD: I’m a great shot! But I don’t really like it as much as my character, Vivi does, but I enjoy it when I get to do it in movies.
Q: But you could defend yourself if you had to?
HEARD: Oh yeah, of course. I mean, no self-respecting Texan raises a daughter who doesn’t know how to defend herself.
Q: And the car chase scenes in the movie – did you get to do any of that?
HEARD: I did a lot of the driving and I love driving. I love cars, so that stuff is very fun for me, that is not work at all.
Q: You have a Mustang right? It’s your favourite?
HEARD: It’s my baby. My 1968 Mustang is my baby. That’s my true love that car. It will be with me until the end of time. It’s like a child. Where I go, it goes, I don’t care. (laughs) I am being buried with it.
Q: Did you take it to Paris?
HEARD: No. They don’t have the same respect for them I don’t think.
Q: Is that the Texas girl in you do you think, being into guns and cars and all that stuff?
HEARD: Perhaps it’s something I took from home. Maybe something that went into building who I was when I was little. Those things that you reject when you are defining yourself as a young adult or when you are first starting to understand yourself, maybe as a teenager, those things that you reject because they are where you come from have a tendency of rearing their heads when you have reached a certain point in your 20s, I think. I see that about country music. I used to have a very strong, visceral reaction against country music, I used to just roll my eyes instantly and now I really crave it. It’s one of my favourite types of music, it’s comforting and maybe driving and guns and horses are also part of that.
Q: Have you ever lost a role because they said you are too pretty to be believable in something?
HEARD: It happens. It’s very limiting when people see you as a certain type, it’s very limiting and it feels frustrating because we are supposed to be in this creative industry and yet it feels very difficult to circumnavigate the expectations that people put on you based on superficial norms.
Q: Yet Brad Pitt for example, he’s uglied himself up for some roles.
HEARD: He’s also a man, and that makes a difference because we are able to emotionally empathise with men and see them in a dimensional way. We learn really early to be able to empathise emotionally and project our empathy onto male characters whereas men don’t do that with female characters. It becomes a chick movie. Even at an early age, boys don’t go to see movies about girls but girls will watch Harry Potter and girls will invest in that lead character just as much as they will.
Q: A lot of people have an opinion about you. Do you read Twitter or the tabloids?
HEARD: I don’t even know how to read something on Twitter. I don’t have Twitter. I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have Instagram, I don’t have that ability to even engage in that conversation, nor do I want to. I don’t really participate in it.
Q: So you just avoid stuff that’s been written about you?
HEARD: Yeah, it’s never true. What I hear told back to me by my friends is always a joke, none of it is true. And it’s somehow so far from being anything true that it makes it not even worth engaging in. People will absolutely say whatever they want and there’s just absolutely no integrity in the gossip industry, there’s absolutely no truth. It is based on popular salacious low brow demeaning gossip and there’s nothing less fulfilling than that.
Q: Is it shocking to be on the other end of it?
HEARD: Kind of sometimes. I guess I just never really assumed any of it was true. I wasn’t disheartened or shocked by the fact that now that I am involved in it, and that it continues to be untrue, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
Q: What actresses did you admire growing up?
HEARD: I loved Rita Heyworth. I saw her in Gilda and I fell in love with the whole thing. Lauren Bacall, I saw her in To Have and Have Not.
Q: And what about contemporary?
HEARD: Well that’s the thing, I think back then we had a much more modern approach to femininity. Or at least in filmmaking, we had a much more modern approach to deserved character relationships. In To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall more than held her weight against Humphrey Bogart, who was twice her age, and she more than held her weight against him. In fact, he hardly could keep up with her. And in that performance, she doesn’t apologise for her femininity, she doesn’t wear an ugly pantsuit or a fat suit; she does it as a woman. Her power isn’t negated or compromised by the fact that she’s a woman.
Q: It seems like you play a female James Bond. She’s a powerful woman.
HEARD: Yes. A lot of men are afraid of powerful women, if a woman is sexual or sexualised, the first instinct most women have is to demean her in some other way, bring her down a notch in some other way, make her accessible or mountable, or whatever it is to kind of counteract the intimidating nature that is a woman that inspires such a response in a man. So I am proud and lucky to work with somebody like Luc Besson, who has a long history of not apologising for his heroines, and that’s what I needed to. She is not defined by her sexuality and she also doesn’t apologise for it. It’s not who she is, but she doesn’t have to wear an ugly pant suit to be powerful. She just is.
Q: Did you ever have a crush on Kevin Costner before when he was in Robin Hood or Dances With Wolves?
HEARD: I didn’t. But those are some of the first movies I remember seeing. I was born in 1986, so those movies were some of the first that I remember images of. But in general, I have the luck or misfortune of managing to be pretty ignorant as to who people are in that way.
Q: Is that by choice?
HEARD: No it’s not by choice. It’s not really something I ever intend to do but it seems to be the running theme and the running joke and people who actually know me, I am actually pretty unaware of that.
Q: So could you be sitting next to Tom Cruise in a restaurant and you would be like ‘Who is that guy?’
HEARD: Yes. That’s absolutely me. Maybe not with Tom Cruise, probably not with him, but I would remiss to say I could say a line of his in a movie. I wouldn’t be able to do that.
Q: But now people are going to see you in a restaurant and say, ‘Look, that’s Amber.’ How do you deal with that? Being a novelty?
HEARD: Just fame… I don’t know, I don’t really look at it that way. Thank goodness I don’t look at it that way. I would be weird, and not a good weird, weird, (laughter) if I looked at myself as a commodity.
Q: Does it personally empower you to play a woman in control?
HEARD: I think in general in my career I have always tried and I don’t know if I have been successful at it, but I have always aimed to play as different of a character as I possibly can. Also, I have tried to play as broad a spectrum and range of character as possible. That being said, I think the common denominator that all of them have is their strength. That’s the one thing that I seem unable to compromise on. I am happy to play a bitch or a bad guy, a brilliant person, a compelling one, a complicated one, an enigmatic one, a vulnerable one, but as long as there’s an element of empowered true ownership of strength of character, that’s the one thing I live for.
Q: How do you deal with being super exposed as it is these days? Is that something new that you kind of have to cope with, and how do you cope with that?
HEARD: I get asked this question a lot, but it should also be noted that I have been asked this question since almost the very beginning, as I have never had any sort of overnight thing. I have never had one project that made my life fundamentally different than it was prior to. I have been working at this for so long. I started from nothing, extra work, to this, so you can imagine that the trajectory has been a long and really organic one that’s been a very slow climb.
I have worked to earn every step and so people have always kind of asked me about that, how I am coping, how I am dealing with what is the external image of myself, but the beautiful thing is, I don’t have ownership over that at all. I don’t deal with it. I don’t own it, I don’t fight it, I don’t comment on it, I don’t have Twitter or Facebook or any website or social anything and I don’t engage in that regard. I don’t see myself as that. It’s not what I am proud of, and the only thing I want to sell is my work. The only thing I am selling is imagination of stories and characters. And I might not always be the best at it, but what makes me who I am is not that stuff. And I keep the two very separate. And so I guess the answer would be I just don’t see it that way.
Q: Have you regretted anything you said or done?
HEARD: No. Even the bad movies I have made, I mean, maybe one or two I could say I could regret, but not really. At the risk of sounding trite I am being sincere, every word of it, every movie I did was a learning process that I drew a lot from, and even if it is to never sort of do that thing again, every step of it and I don’t regret anything that I have said at all. I don’t regret it.
Q: Do you have hobbies? Do you have time?
HEARD: I do. I do have hobbies. For some reason, I do have time, it’s really weird. But you make time. I cook and eat afterwards. I love to cook, I love being in the kitchen, it’s one of my favourite things in the world. And I have a group of friends in LA, a strong group of friends, small, it’s the same friends that I have had for a million years, and we have dinner parties a couple of times a week and that’s the thing that winds me down at the end of the night. And I am a voracious reader and I ride horses.
Q: So most of your friends are not in the industry.
HEARD: Oh God no.