Amber Heard’s First Premiere Since Johnny Depp Trial Needed Extra Security: Producer

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Amber Heard speaks on stage during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard promoted In the fire at the 69th Taormina Film Festival in Taormina, Italy on Saturday. A producer for the film said extra security was used for Heard’s first appearance due to online threats she had received since her defamation lawsuit against ex-husband Johnny Depp. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard is returning to the spotlight more than a year after her legal battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp – with added protection.

Over the weekend, the 37-year-old actress attended the Taormina Film Festival in Taormina, Italy, where her film In the fire had its international premiere. She wore a belted black dress for the occasion complete with a bright red lip.

She posed with a big smile for photos and selfies with fans as she promoted the project. In the 1890s, she stars as a widowed New York psychiatrist who travels to South America to treat a child believed to be possessed by the devil.

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Amber Heard is seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard is seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard at the Taormina Film Festival held at Teatro Antico on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Deadline via Getty Images)

Amber Heard at the Taormina Film Festival held at Teatro Antico on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Vianney Le Caer/Deadline via Getty Images)

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Amber Heard is seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard poses with fans at the Taormina Film Festival. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

However, Heard, who was reviled following the trial, was careful in choosing her interviews, answering questions from Variety over email — and taking none on Depp. She spoke to celebrity friends People on the carpet, keeping the subject of the film directed by Conor Allyn, which she says is “a film about love” and “the overwhelming power of love”.

Pascal Borno, who produced the film, told Variety that there were concerns, on the part of the festival organizers as well as In the fire producers, prior to Heard’s appearance, that there would be demonstrations by Depp supporters at the event. He had to persuade Italian police to provide extra security amid online threats Heard received.

“They took it seriously and then I promised them selfies with Amber,” Borno said.

Heard’s reception, also from tourists and paparazzi, was positive, bringing relief to her co-stars, who accompanied her to the event.

“I was relieved to see how they screamed for her,” said Italian actor Luca Calvani, who also appeared in The man from UNCLE “After all the shouting online at this beautiful human being.”

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Amber Heard attends the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard attends the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Production of In the fire took place between Depp losing his libel case against a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater” in 2020, which featured Heard testifying against him, and the US libel case last year, which saw Depp emerge largely victorious. Heard actually left the production, in Guatemala at the time, to attend Virginia’s trial on her 2018 Washington Post editorial on surviving sexual and domestic violence.

“The lawsuit threatened us,” Calvani said of In the fire, who also toured Italy. “We felt the gravity of this massive media machine building against all of us, and the camaraderie of filming felt like a good distraction.”

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: (L-R) Luca Calvani, Eduardo Noriega, Amber Heard, Conor Allyn and Yari Gugliucci attend the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Luca Calvani, Eduardo Noriega, Amber Heard, Conor Allyn and Yari Gugliucci attend the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Barrett Wissman and Amber Heard are seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Barrett Wissman and Amber Heard are seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Allyn, who met Heard a few years before she was cast in this film, said she “was amazing on camera, but also complacent behind the camera. Once we started shooting, it was a comfort from day one.” cover to have it there. I knew I could point the camera at her, and I’d get something good.

Allyn said he hopes this is the start of a “mega comeback” for Heard, who will also appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Later this year. Calvani added, “Amber is back. She’s awesome; she’s radiant; she’s a good actress and she’s resilient.

TAORMINA, ITALY - JUNE 24: Amber Heard is seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Amber Heard is seen during the 69th Taormina Film Festival on June 24, 2023 in Taormina, Italy. (Photo: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Heard has not made a public appearance since the horrific libel trial last year. For six weeks, the exes, who had been married for less than two years (from 2015 to 2017), brought brutal complaints against each other to court, including abuse. There was a media frenzy around the trial, including a negative social media narrative about Heard. When the verdict came down on June 1, 2022, the jurors largely sided with Depp. He won his three libel suits and was awarded $10.35 million in damages; Heard won one of his counterclaims against Depp, who was to pay him $2 million.

After Heard appealed, she settled the case, agreeing to pay Depp $1 million, which he agreed to donate to charity. Earlier this month it was revealed that he had already donated the settlement money.

Depp, who greeted fans entering and leaving court during the month-long trial, left the United States as the verdict was handed down and publicly celebrated his victory in the UK. The star, who lives in the English countryside, has been on tour with the late Jeff Beck and is planning his own with the Hollywood Vampires. The father-of-two also made an appearance in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion show late last year and attended the Cannes Film Festival in May. He also signed a new contract with Dior, worth a historic $20 million.

For his part, Heard – after a Maintenance Deadline who didn’t sway any of his critics – moved to Madrid to raise his 2-year-old daughter, Oonagh Paige, out of the spotlight. A paparazzi caught up with her and she worked on her Spanish skills. Despite an online campaign to have her cut from the next Aquaman next, she’s in it. Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux was among a group of French feminists who recently signed an open letter in support of Heard.

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 11: Actress Amber Heard leaves Sorolla Museum, on May 11, 2023, in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jose Ramon Hernando/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Amber Heard has moved to Madrid since the messy libel trial. (Photo: Jose Ramon Hernando/Europa Press via Getty Images)

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