Amber Heard Previews New ‘In the Fire’ Movie, Calls It a ‘Meditation on Love’s Almost Supernatural Powers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The 69th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily saw the world premiere of the paranormal psychological thriller ‘In the Fire’ on Saturday, which marks Amber Heard’s return to the big screen after two high-profile trials involving her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

On the turquoise carpet (the color was chosen to match the Mediterranean, which serves as a stunning backdrop), Heard greeted a crowd of fans – accompanied by paparazzi and tourists – who shouted words of encouragement to the “Aquaman” star.

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The producers and organizers of the festival had been concerned about possible demonstrations by Depp supporters. Producer Pascal Borno said Variety he had to persuade Italian police to provide extra security after receiving online threats. “They took it seriously and then I promised them selfies with Amber,” he said.

Despite the initial apprehension, the atmosphere in the crowd was one of usual celebrity excitement. A family from New York pointed out to Variety that they thought Heard was “bold”.

“I was relieved to see how they were screaming for her. After all the shouting online about this beautiful human being,” said Heard’s co-star, Italian actor Luca Calvani (“The Man of the UNCLE”).

The film’s production had been put on hold by the first trial in London in 2020, which dismissed Depp’s libel suit, and the second in Virginia in 2022, which Heard left filming in Guatemala to attend. (The film was also shot on location in Ostuni, Italy). “The trial was waiting for us. We felt the gravity of this huge media machine building against all of us, and the camaraderie of the shoot was a good distraction,” Calvani said.

Amber Heard with Pascal Borno, producer

Amber Heard and producer Pascal Borno

Heard answered a few questions from Variety in writing, even though Depp’s topic was banned. “I feel honored to be a part of this labor of love and to be the leader in [director] Conor Allyn’s vision,” she wrote. “I feel lucky to be surrounded by such an incredible cast. They are as dedicated and magical as the characters they play.

Heard described the film as “a meditation on the almost supernatural powers of love told by a strong-willed, independent woman at the turn of the 20th century”.

Heard plays Grace, a foreigner from New York who travels to South America to work as a doctor. There she faces hostility, in part from the volcanic landscape as well as the fact that she is a woman practicing psychiatry at the birth of science, just a few years after Sigmund Freud published his first books.

She is called to a remote farm in the Colombian countryside to nurse a young boy (Lorenzo McGovern), who the locals – led by a charismatic Jesuit priest (Yari Gugliucci) – believe to be possessed by the devil. Her father, played by Eduardo Noriega, initially treats Grace with contempt before being won over.

allyn said Variety he met Heard while developing a serial killer television drama set in Colombia a few years earlier. When that project came to a halt in 2022, Heard read the script for “In the Fire” and agreed to work on what Allyn describes as a “gaucho gothic western” after completing his “Aquaman 2” engagement.

“When Amber showed up in Italy to shoot, she was a force to be reckoned with. She was an incredible star on camera, but she was also an accomplice behind the camera,” Allyn said. “Once we started shooting, it was a comfort blanket from day one to have her there. I knew I could point the camera at her and I would get something good.

Whether or not the movie will move the narrative of Heard’s legal cases remains to be seen, but Allyn is hoping for a “mega-return.” Calvani enthusiastically agreed: “Amber is back. She is awesome; she is radiant; she’s a good actress and she’s resilient.

“In the Fire” was produced by Angel Oak Films, ILBE and Paradox.

Heard will also appear in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which is slated for release later this year.

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