'Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial' airs Sept. 30 on Tubi.
Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard -- the defamation trial that gripped the country, is coming to our screens in the form of a new Tubi original movie. ET's Denny Directo spoke to the stars of Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial, Megan Davis and Mark Hapka, about portraying one of the most talked about trials on-screen.
The actors admittedly had their reservations before signing on to the project, with Hapka sharing that it wasn't a "yes" right away.
"It wasn’t right away a 'hell yes,' because we got questions, you know?" Hapka said. "What’s the script? What’s the approach? Is it a biased approach, is it a neutral approach?"
He continued, "We were on the same page, I think, of how we wanted to tell this story, which as neutral as possible and authentic to the testimony, authentic to what was shared, try to avoid embellishing at all costs, and make as neutral a movie as possible, because that’s, in our opinion, good filmmaking."
Davis said she took playing the role of Heard seriously, telling ET that she wanted to bring some "understanding and love and compassion" to her portrayal of the Aquaman actress.
"It is hard because you want so badly to feel like whoever sees this, they would feel seen and feel understood," Davis explained. "And for me, part of my choosing to take the role, was because I felt there were a lot of things that I saw in her and heard in her, that I understood, and I saw the way the world was treating this real human being, and I felt like if there’s an opportunity that I could maybe bring some understanding and love and compassion to this person...that’s all I think any artist wants to do."
The famous six-week trial began a little over three years after Depp filed his $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in March 2019 following the Washington Post op-ed she wrote which detailed how she was the victim of domestic violence. While Depp's name was not mentioned in the article, the piece was published as their contentious 2016 divorce continued to make news headlines. Depp ultimately won the case when the jury unanimously sided with him and awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
After the verdict, Heard filed to appeal the $15 million in required compensatory and punitive damages. That same week, Depp also appealed the verdict that had awarded Heard $2 million. Both their appeals are now ongoing.
The pair were cast in the roles just as the verdict was read, getting to work in real-time as the trial was coming to a close.
"I want to say like a week later something like that," Hapka said of when they got cast. "It all feels like such a blur," Davis added.
While they weren't able to watch the entire trial ahead of making the film, both Hapka and Davis were glued to the screen as the back-and-forth between the former husband and wife played out for six weeks.
"There wasn't even enough time to watch all of it from the time that we booked the roles and started shooting, so, it’s like picking and choosing what's in the script, focusing on the testimonies 'cause those you can't make up, because they exist," Hapka said. "And you gotta get at least the essence of them, and try to understand what they were thinking in those moments."
He continued, "We're constantly going back and forth, 'Is this too much? Should we pull this back?' We don’t wanna disrespect, we don’t wanna give the wrong idea. It’s just a constant struggle to keep this as neutral as possible."
The biggest thing that sets the movie apart from the trial? Taking viewers into the imagined thoughts of Depp and Heard.
"I think what I was most surprised by is how much love I found between the two of them," Davis said.
Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial airs Sept. 30 on Tubi.
Watch the trailer in the video below.