A 21st-century star of Hollywood cinema, actor Amber Heard has been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest names in the industry throughout her 18-year career, going strong. Collaborating with the likes of James Wan, Zack Snyder, Tom Hooper, David Gordon Green and John Carpenter, Heard has made a name for herself in the industry and is certainly capable of so much more.
No doubt stifling the progress of her career, the defamation trial between herself and her ex-husband Johnny Depp that began on April 2022 overshadows her current career in Hollywood, with Heard accusing Depp of sexual assault.
Despite this, Heard continues to fill her future schedule with more new releases, with Aquaman 2 scheduled for release in 2023, whilst the thrillers In the Fire and Run Away with Me are currently in production. Still, in the infancy of her profession, let’s take a look back at Amber Heard’s ten best performances to date as she looks to kick start her career once more.
Amber Heard’s 10 best performances:
10. 3 Days to Kill (McG, 2014)
Appearing alongside Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld and Richard Sammel, Amber Heard gives a decent performance as Vivi Delay in a story that follows a dying CIA agent who’s trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter before he’s drafted for one life-saving mission. It’s not a great movie and it’s almost certainly a silly plot, but Heard does enough to make the film thrilling enough.
Making note of the screenplay written by Luc Besson, it’s no wonder that 3 Days to Kill contains such a mental plot.
9. Friday Night Lights (Peter Berg, 2004)
Based on the popular TV show and the book of the same name written by H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights follows the incredible true story of the heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers. Featuring Amber Heard in her very first feature film role, the actor appears as part of a solid ensemble cast that includes the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Derek Luke and Garrett Hedlund.
Though not as beloved as the NBC show, the 2004 movie remains an impressive sports film of monumental triumph.
8. Never Back Down (Jeff Wadlow, 2008)
A favourite among pre-teens in the noughties, the peculiar martial arts movie Never Back Down by Jeff Wadlow stars Heard in one of her most melodramatic performances. Playing the love interest Baja Miller, who tempts the protagonist, Heard brings a unique allure to her performance in a film that follows a frustrated teenager who arrives at a new school and finds himself embroiled with an underground fight club.
Featuring a whole host of up and coming Hollywood stars, Heard appeared with Djimon Hounsou, Sean Faris, Cam Gigandet and Evan Peters.
7. Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer, 2009)
Despite only appearing for a brief moment in the influential zombie comedy, Amber Heard made her mark on the movie as the girlfriend of Jesse Eisenberg who quickly turns into a flesh-eater. Part of the many cameos that appear throughout the film, Heard appeared with such other actors as Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray and Luke Wilson in the breakthrough movie.
Appearing toward the start of the film, the movie continued without Heard’s influence, telling the story of a band of misfit survivors who are trying to make a life amid the zombie apocalypse.
6. The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, 2015)
Tom Hooper’s 2015 movie The Danish Girl may not have been the follow-up to Les Misérables that Tom Hooper would have hoped for, with star Eddie Redmayne even denouncing the film since its release, but it remains a solid movie. Featuring Amber Heard alongside Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw and the Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell, Heard is given one of the most pivotal roles of her career.
Playing Ulla in Hooper’s Oscar-winning film following a Danish artist who becomes a transgender pioneer, Heard helps to create a solid romantic drama.
5. North Country (Niki Caro, 2005)
Arguably Amber Heard’s greatest role came in the understated 2005 movie North Country, directed by Niki Caro, a drama that followed a fictionalised account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States. The actor takes a backseat to Charlize Theron in the lead role though is still able to show off her character, even when vying for screen time with Frances McDormand, Jeremy Renner, Woody Harrelson, Sean Bean and Sissy Spacek.
The incredible story is thrillingly told by Niki Caro as well as screenwriter Michael Seitzman, with Theron’s character given the necessary context and space to thrive.
4. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Zack Snyder, 2021)
One of the most peculiar, fan-led film releases of all time, Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League was released four years after the release of the original film, receiving plaudits from critics and fans upon its release. Amber Heard returns to her Aquaman character, Mera, in the movie where she helps to bring the underwater world of Atlantis to life alongside the titular superhero himself, played by Jason Momoa.
Though she’s part of a great ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher and Amy Adams, Heard still stands out among the crowd.
3. Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green, 2008)
Amber Heard takes a strange role in the influential stoner comedy Pineapple Express, playing the unlikely girlfriend of Seth Rogen’s layabout character. Starring in one of many hilarious moments in the movie, Heard brings some genuine comedic timing to the film that rivals the greatness of Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole and Bill Hader.
Becoming one of the few stoner comedies that were popular across several different types of audiences, Pineapple Express is a Hollywood comedy with a stoner heart.
2. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Jonathan Levine, 2008)
Featuring Amber Heard in one of her few starring roles, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, directed by Jonathan Levine, told the story of a high-school girl who is invited to a secluded party only for the guests to begin dropping off one by one. Fueling the film with a compelling lead performance, Heard makes the film her own, making the peculiar horror thriller into a memorable diamond in the rough.
Shining as part of an otherwise somewhat nameless cast that includes Anson Mount, Michael Welch and Whitney Able, Heard helps to elevate Jonathan Levine’s work.
1. Aquaman (James Wan, 2018)
The history of superhero movies told Hollywood that Aquaman wouldn’t work in 2018, but Insidious director James Wan defied such calls, creating one of DC’s greatest films in their disappointing canon. Heard features as Mera, Nereus’ daughter, a key character in the movie who became a fan-favourite alongside such stars as Jason Momoa, Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman.
Having appeared once again in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Heard’s character will no doubt crop up once again in the future of the franchise.