» Life in Austin
Amber Laura Heard was born April 22, 1986. Born and raised in Austin, Texas by father David, a contractor, and mother Paige, an Internet researcher for the state, Amber embraced her school’s drama department as a teenager and appeared in local commercials and campaigns. At the mere age of 16, Amber lost her best friend in a fatal car crash. It was this accident that changed Amber’s outlook in life. “That was the hardest blow emotionally that I have ever had to endure. Suddenly, you realize tomorrow might not come. Now I live by the motto, ‘Today is what I have.'” Heard, who was raised Catholic, now declared herself an atheist. After the tragic death of her friend, Heard met her first serious boyfriend, who introduced her to the writings of Russian-born atheist Ayn Rand. “I’ve read all of her books,” says Heard. “Ever since then, I have been obsessed with her ideals. All I’ve ever needed is myself.” Amber dropped out of St. Michael’s Catholic Academy at the age of 17 and went to New York to start a career in modeling – but she did not enjoy it. “There’s no real talent involved in modeling. Acting has substance.” Hence she next located to Los Angeles to get into acting.
» Early Career
Once in Los Angeles, Amber Heard scored appearances in various TV shows. 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 brief cameo as a salesgirl in The O.C. (2005). Her first movie role was Maria in Friday Night Lights (2004). “When I was on the set, just doing day-playing work, I remember thinking, ‘This is what I want to do forever'”, she said. “Knowing that with such certainty at 17 was just life-altering.” She next starred as Shay in sideFX (2005), an independent horror flick and had supporting roles in Drop Dead Sexy (2005), Price to Pay (2006) and You Are Here (2006). Amber turned heads with more prominent parts in Niki Caro’s North Country (2005) as young Josey (Charlize Theron in the adult form) and as Alma in Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dog (2006). To play the part, Heard “tapped into a reckless, naive teenager. It was difficult to channel but I had to completely disconnect any humane aspects she had. I’ve known girls like her… You don’t have a lot of sympathy for them.” In 2006 Amber also starred as Lila in an episode of Criminal Minds.
» Hidden Palms
Amber was next cast in the CW Network’s Hidden Palms. In it Amber portrayed the enigmatic free spirit Greta Matthews, who suffered the losses of both her mother and boyfriend, Eddie, and befriends Johnny, the anti-hero of the show. Despite her general dislike for the TV, Amber was immediately drawn to her character. “Greta is complicated,” she says. “She’s like I was when I was a teenager. It’s why I relate to her.” In order to get the part of Greta, Amber was asked to lose weight. It took her four months, daily workouts and a ban on carbs to lose 25 pounds. “At first I said no, but it’s about the work. I cared about the project and the character, so I was willing to do it. It’s called dedication.” Hidden Palms premiered in the US on May 30, 2007. Unfortunately The CW wrapped the summer series early – instead of the initial 12 episode arch only eight were aired. The show sang its swan song on July 4 – two weeks prior than originally planned.
» Actress on the Rise
Amber was next cast in the title role in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. The horror film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2006, immediately generating buzz and landing a seemingly great deal with Harvey Weinstein. However, it is now three years since its Toronto debut and the movie still has not reached theaters in North America. However, it is available on DVD in Europe.
In 2007 Heard also appeared in the short movie Day 73 with Sarah and Jess Manafort’s indie drama Remember the Daze (aka The Beautiful Ordinary), which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June and opened in limited release in April 2008. She next filmed the Judd Apatow gang comedy The Pineapple Express and martial arts drama Never Back Down, released in 2008, back-to-back. The latter opened in March and sees Amber Heard in the role of the free-spirited Baja Miller who falls for Sean Faris’ Jake Tyler. “I play Baja Miller in the movie and it’s a very important role because she serves as a mirror to society; to all those young girls that either you knew or you were. I believe that it’s really important to address that. Art should and does imitate life. If we do it in a truthful manner, you’ll walk away with a message.” The film did well in the box office and raised Heard’s profile a great deal. She appeared in numerous magazines and promoted the film internationally. Amber also did a brief appearance for Showtime’s Californication and joined the huge cast of The Informers, based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same title. The film was released in April 2009 and sees Amber in a risque role. “I hope the audiences have a really difficult time with it. That’s why I’m in this industry. I want to challenge people. I want people to think. I don’t want people to just zone out and get everything that expected when they walked into the movie. The novel by Bret Easton Ellis I was a big fan of. It’s dark and it’s real and it’s gritty and it’s hard to swallow.” The versatile and hard-working actress also filmed the horror The Stepfather and comedy ExTerminators back-to-back in 2008 while promoting the Never Back Down, Mandy Lane and Remember the Daze releases.
» Not Slowing Down!
Amber Heard’s career continues to show no signs of slowing down – quite the opposite! In late 2008 she also made time to film The River Why and The Joneses; two independent features due out in 2009. In the beginning of 2009 The Informers made it’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The reviews were mixed and the audiences were shocked by Amber’s daring role as she appears largely nude througout the film. Regardless of the disappointing press, fans of Heard still anxiously await the darker role for her. It was also announced in early February that Amber would take part in three new projects; Zombieland, aiming for an October 9, 2009 release, will see Amber in a small role as the object of Jesse Eisenberg’s affection who turns into a zombie. The Ward, directed by the legendary John Carpenter, promises to be a complex, visceral story, full of suspense and scares about a young woman trapped in a mental institution with a malevolent ghost. Amber will take the lead role. “I am especially pleased to be working with Amber because I know she will create a powerful central performance,” commented Carpenter. In March Amber began filming The Rum Diary in Puerto Rico. This is perhaps Heard’s most exciting announcement to date as she is reported to have won out over Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for the female lead. It will see her star opposite Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart. The adaptation is of the Hunter S. Thompson novel and Amber’s Chenault will be at the center of a love triangle in the tale of a washed-up, hard-drinking journalist named Paul Kemp in 1950s Puerto Rico. The Rum Diary is a passion project for Depp, who was a friend of Thompson’s and has been trying to get the adaptation off the ground since 2003. For a 2010 release Amber will also star and produce And Soon the Darkness, co-starring Odette Yustman and Karl Urban-
Amber is a talented rising actress with a variety of great roles already on her belt, and a passion to act. “I would just love to work in films for the rest of my life. I don’t care about famous or about being anything like that. All I care about is living my life, being able to do what I love, working project to project, city to city, in films I believe in. That’s the only way to live.” Charismatic and stunningly beautiful, she is magnetic to watch. One thing is for certain – Amber Heard is a name to remember!