Actors portraying Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Hot Take movie tell why they took the 'risky role'

The actors portraying Johnny Depp and Amber Heard don't blame you if you're hesitant to watch a movie based on their overly sensationalised defamation lawsuit, which ended just four months ago and received nonstop media coverage. In reality, they shared the same feelings at first. "You have every right to be skeptical," as Depp is portrayed by Mark Hapka in Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial, which is currently streaming on Tubi.

"Listen, I was a little skeptical too when I first heard about it, "According to Megan Davis, who plays Heard, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "It's a topic you want to treat with such respect, and the problem I think with the trial is that people see themselves in both." Naturally, the two actors were hesitant to accept their parts, but each credited their interactions with the directors with calming their fears. "When I was offered the role, it wasn't necessarily a hell yes," Hapka late admitted, recalling, "it's a risky role."

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"I had questions," he adds. "I got on the phone with our director and I spoke to our producer and wanted to find out what kind of movie they were going to make, because if there was going to be any type of bias or sway to either side, then I really wasn't interested." Davis adds, "Everyone was very much a believer in portraying [Heard] as a real human being and her truth as fairly as his truth, and that made me feel comfortable even though it was such a short time frame."

In the end, Hapka claims that he chose to play the role out of a desire to lend objectivity and empathy to the genuine people that he and Davis portray. "I knew this movie was getting made with or without me," he explains. "Megan and I sat down and spoke together and she goes, 'I'm going fully protect Amber, and you're going to fully protect Johnny,' so in doing so, in that tug of war, we can find that balance and make sure everything stays as neutral as possible."

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Davis was further motivated to accept the role after watching the vitriol poured against Head on social media during the trial. "If anything, to be honest, it was more the vitriol that made me want to play her," she says, "because it breaks my heart when we can't see that people are human beings."

Despite their best efforts, both actors knew they would be criticised from both sides. "We expected every bit of backlash," Hapka admits. "This was such a moment in the cultural zeitgeist with so many layers, where each individual you ask will perceive this trial completely differently; there's no objective truth to it, so I think that in that sense, I wasn't too worried about it because I was just there to do my job, which was to bring authenticity to the testimonies and bring to life what was said by each person as a dramatization."

Hapka didn't want to come off as making an impersonation or cosplay in order to play Depp as accurately as possible. Both actors used a combination of courtroom testimony, recordings of the former couple fighting that were brought into evidence, and red carpet interviews during their whirlwind courting as research, even though neither actor watched the trial in real-time. "I focused on things like essence and mannerisms," Hapka says, "and not necessarily trying to do an impersonation of him, but rather just drop into the whole essence of it."

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To some extent, that required getting used to Depp's distinctive speaking style. "He has this accent that you can't pinpoint," Hapka notes. "I think it's like a conglomeration of all of the roles he's ever played that have stayed with him and they've all sort of blended." The actor's appearance was also aided by the wardrobe team. "They really understood Johnny's exotic and random style, down to safety pins holding things together and handkerchiefs and the amount of bracelets that weigh his arms down, and the necklaces and different earrings. Certain tattoos would have to be put on and disappear; we had a whole timeline of his tattoos."

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