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Amber Heard Bio
Amber Heard (born April 22, 1986) is an American actress. Heard made her film debut in the acclaimed sports drama Friday Night Lights, starring Billy Bob Thornton. After small roles in North Country and Alpha Dog, Heard played her first leading role in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and appeared in The CW television show Hidden Palms.
Her breakthrough came in 2008 with roles in Never Back Down and Pineapple Express. She received the Breakthrough Award at Young Hollywood Awards. She got widespread attention after her appearance in films such as The Informers, The Stepfather, Zombieland and The Joneses. She next starred in John Carpenter‘s The Ward, alongside Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry, and alongside Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary, for which she won a Spotlight Award at Hollywood Film Festival. Recently she appeared in films Paranoia, Machete Kills, 3 Days to Kill and Magic Mike XXL.
Heard has appeared in magazines’ Most Beautiful and Sexiest lists. She is also involved in social activism for causes such as LGBT rights and abolishing slavery, and is a supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Girl Up United Nations Foundation, The Art of Elysium and Amnesty International.
While in Los Angeles, Heard made appearances in several TV shows and two music videos, Kenny Chesney‘s “There Goes My Life” and Eisley‘s “I Wasn’t Prepared”. She was cast as Liz in the pilot episode of The WB‘s Jack & Bobby (2004), as Riley in an episode of The Mountain (2004) and she had a guest starring role as a salesgirl in The O.C. (2005). Her first movie role was Maria in Friday Night Lights (2004), starring Billy Bob Thornton. Based on actual events, the movie was both a commercial and critical success. She next starred as Shay in Side FX (2005), an independent horror film, and had supporting roles in Drop Dead Sexy (2005), Price to Pay (2006) and You Are Here (2006). Heard had a more prominent role in Niki Caro‘s North Country (2005), in which she played the teenage version of Josey, Charlize Theron‘s character. She also appeared in a minor role in Nick Cassavetes‘ Alpha Dog (2006). In the same year, she starred in an episode of Criminal Minds as Lila Archer, a love interest of main character Spencer Reid.
Heard was next cast in the CW‘s Hidden Palms. On the show she portrayed Greta Matthews, who suffered the losses of both her mother and boyfriend, Eddie, and befriends Johnny, the antihero of the show. In order to get the part, Heard was asked to lose weight. It took her four months between the pilot and the second episode to lose 25 pounds, giving up alcohol, increasing her workouts and following a macrobiotic diet (no meat, dairy or processed sugar). Hidden Palms premiered in the US on May 30, 2007. Ultimately, the CW wrapped the summer series early; instead of the initial 12-episode arc, only 8 were aired. The show ended on July 4, 2007 two weeks earlier than originally planned.
Heard was cast in the title role in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a horror film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2006. The film immediately garnered attention and a deal was secured with Harvey Weinstein. However, nearly a year after its Toronto début, the movie had not reached theaters. In July 2007, Mandy Lane found a new distribution home and the film finally was released in 2008 with a February UK release and June DVD release. The film’s director Jonathan Levine said about Amber’s casting in the title role that “there was a certain type of beauty and a certain type of innate intelligence that Amber brought to it that is not something you find every day. Certainly, not something you would find in somebody her age. The wisdom she projects, I thought was pretty remarkable.” The Los Angeles Times praised’s Heard’s acting, saying it’s her most “definitive [performance] to date.” and The Washington Post stated that Heard gave a “psychologically interesting performance.”
In 2007, Heard also appeared in the 16-minute-long short movie Day 73 with Sarah and Jess Manafort‘s indie drama Remember the Daze (aka The Beautiful Ordinary), which premiered at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival. She then appeared in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Pineapple Express and the martial arts drama Never Back Down, both of which were released in 2008. Both films were box office successes and brought Heard into mainstream attention, including a win for Breakthrough Award in Hollywood Film Festival. Richard Roeper praised Heard’s performance in Pineapple Express. She also made a brief appearance in Showtime‘s Californication and joined the ensemble cast of 2009’s The Informers, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same title. She filmed the horror film The Stepfather and the comedy film Ex-Terminators back-to-back in 2008 while promoting Never Back Down, Mandy Lane and Remember the Daze.
In late 2008, Heard filmed The River Why and The Joneses; two independent features. Variety highly praised Heard’s acting performance, saying “she steals the show” and that she actually delivered better work than film’s leading star Demi Moore in The Joneses. James Berardinelli, despite giving a negative review, also praised Heard’s performance.
At the beginning of 2009, The Informers made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Despite an all-star cast, the movie received generally negative reviews. Heard next appeared in Zombieland, playing a small role as the object of Jesse Eisenberg’s affection who turns into a zombie. She subsequently appeared in John Carpenter‘s The Ward. Carpenter described Heard as “very smart, very driven and very talented.” In March, Heard began filming The Rum Diary, opposite Johnny Depp, in Puerto Rico. Heard was reported to have won the role out over Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley. In 2010, she starred in and produced And Soon the Darkness, co-starring Odette Yustman and Karl Urban.
In February 2010, Heard was cast in Drive Angry, a 3-D action thriller directed by Patrick Lussier and released in February 2011. Prominent film critic Roger Ebert stated in his review for Drive Angry that Amber “does everything that can possibly be done” with her character. In February 2011, she appeared on Top Gear in the UK. She talked about her love of guns and muscle cars, and revealed that she used to line-dance in Texas bars. She later appeared in Paranoia, Machete Kills, and 3 Days to Kill, the latter of which was a box office success. Amber also starred in Syrup, a film based on the novel by Max Barry who called Heard “amazing” and that she “annihilated that character. In a good way.” Isaac Feldberg of We Got This Covered was not impressed by the film but stated that “only Heard makes a real impression” yet her “great performance can’t save Syrup from its half-baked, sluggish script and obnoxious complacency.”
In 2015, she starred in The Adderall Diaries alongside James Franco, Christian Slater and Ed Harris. Indiewire gave film a mixed review and stated that Heard was “miscast” but yet “she displays much potential and has succeeded in a bid to be taken more seriously.” Nick Leyland of The Movie Network enjoyed the film and praised Heard’s performance as well. She also starred in a musical drama When I Live My Life Over Again, co-starring Christopher Walken. Heard took singing lessons and learned how to play the piano and guitar for her role. International Business Times described Heard as “talented enough to share a few heartfelt moments in a character that mostly operates on the defensive.”
In September 2014, Heard joined the cast of Magic Mike XXL, sequel to the 2012 film Magic Mike. The film was released in July 2015. She portrayed Zoe, a photographer who flirts with the main character Mike, portrayed by Channing Tatum in the film. Digital Spy described the character as “a convincing girl-next-door type” and Screen International stated that “Amber Heard doesn’t get enough screen time as a potential love interest for Mike, but her tomboyish flirtation delights.” Heard was starred in London Fields— co-starring Billy Bob Thornton (her third collaboration with him), Jim Sturgess, Cara Delevingne, and Theo James— a film directed by newcomer Matthew Cullen. London Fields, in which Johnny Depp appears in a cameo role, supposed to premiere in Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, but it was later pulled from the festival roster after director Mathew Cullen sued the film’s producers, accusing them of fraud and using his name to promote a cut of the film he does not support. During its short run, the film received highly negative reviews. Heard’s performance was criticized among other members of the cast. However The Hollywood Reporter defended her performance, reminding her “perfectly fine” performances in her early works as in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and The Rum Diary, they’ve felt “it may not be fair to entirely blame her for not being able to carry the film as the role requires; she probably didn’t have much help.” It was reported that the film’s stars, including Heard, all written to the producers too, objecting to the cut that was seen at press and industry screenings at Toronto. Heard also had a supporting role in Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl (2015). The film premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival to positive reviews and is scheduled for a 27 November 2015 release. Her performance was described as “minxy” and “staggeringly good.”