Amber Heard on Drive Angry and The Rum Diary

We caught up with the star for a chat ahead of her role in this week's actioner.

by | February 25, 2011 | Comments

For a Texan-born actress with a love for classic American muscle cars (she drives a ’68 Mustang), starring opposite Nicolas Cage in a grindhouse-style thriller called Drive Angry would seem like the ideal role. It came as no surprise, then, to discover Amber Heard’s enthusiasm for both the fast and scuzzy sensibility of the movie and her co-star’s typically unusual performance, which includes — in a move inspired, says Cage, by poet laureate Walt Whitman — his character Milton drinking beer from the bloodied skull of a deceased foe. Heard plays tough Southern girl Piper, who, after catching out (and beating the crap out of) her no-good cheating boyfriend, finds herself on the run with Nicolas Cage’s escapee from Hell. The part calls for plenty of lurid cussin’, dirty fist fights, and blowing people away with large weaponry… while somehow managing to be sweet in the process.

We caught up with Heard for a chat ahead of the film’s release, and asked her about her role alongside Johnny Depp in Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary.

RT: What got you interested in this — was it Nicolas, or the cars?

It was the fast cars, loud explosions, great music, big guns and saving the world with Nicolas Cage — in a pair of Daisy Dukes. Oh, and the icing on the cake was the ’69 Charger.

RT: Did you two do a lot of the driving?

Yeah, I did a lot of my own stunts. I did my driving; I had a great time. They definitely hit casting on this one, because I can’t imagine a better role.

RT: You look like you were physically involved in a lot of those fights.

Yeah, well I didn’t want my stunt double to have all the fun. [laughs]

RT: How rough was it?

I think there’s something to be said for going home, tired, bruised and a little broken — you know, scraped and all that.

RT: You got into actual scrapes?

Yeah I did. Many a night I had to come home and dress some wounds. But it’s like, this is the kind of movie that, if you didn’t get your hands dirty making it, you didn’t do it right. It was a lot of fun. I mean, just to get to play a character that has an opportunity to throw punches and spit blood and wear cowboy boots and still be the sensitive element of the films — I had to carry the heart of the movie and still throw some mean punches. It was kind of a nice thing to work on.

RT: What was it like working with Nicolas Cage?

Nic is… Nic is like one part Zen and one part crazy. There’s something to be said for the perfect mix of the two that just produces the most unique recipe — the perfect recipe — for a hero of this genre, which we all know Nic to be. He does something different with these characters, the hero character: he brings so much more to the set than what’s written on the paper. And there was a lot to work with on the paper.

RT: Was there a moment that surprised you in Nicolas’s performance?

He brought something out of my character, the relationship that they form — the bond that they form right away didn’t feel forced. It was very natural. They’re kind of elegant, with each other; their relationship is very sweet and it’s really nice that we could execute that, because this is the kind of movie that could easily have gotten lost on. And you do root for Milton, and he could have been a character that you really hate: I mean, we know that he was a bad husband and that he was running with the wrong crowd and he leaves his friend behind — all this stuff, there are a lot of reasons to make you not like him. But the fact that he can make you love him by the end of the movie, it’s a testament to Mr. Cage’s abilities.

RT: Not to mention the fact that he can drink beer out of a skull.

[laughs] It’s one of the best moments of the movie. And that one moment where he just decides not to throw away the skull — he decides to keep it for a future keepsake — that’s just the brilliance of Nic Cage. That’s just him.

RT: You’re playing Chenault, Paul Kemp’s (Johnny Depp) girlfriend in The Rum Diary, which I’m excited for. What can we expect from the film?

You should be! I’m, excited for it too. I haven’t seen it yet but I expect it to be the beautiful movie that I know it could be. It’s based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, as you probably know, and the material that we had to base this script off of is, unto itself, its own brilliant piece of art. I think Hunter S. Thompson’s such an amazing artist and writer, and we had a lot to work with. But Bruce Robinson took that and turned it into something that only Bruce Robinson could create — in his mad brilliance. And I think Johnny Depp is the only person alive that could handle the subject matter, and do it with the elegance, grace and intimacy that he brings to it, having known Hunter. I couldn’t have asked for a better gig, really. It’s kind of rare in this business, even though you wouldn’t expect it to be, but it’s rare that I work with true artists and that’s what I felt like working with Bruce Robinson and Johnny Depp — he’s a true artist, and he really wanted to create something that felt like art. I’m really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to work with everybody. It’s a dream job.

RT: It’s great to see Bruce back directing.

Yeah. I was a fan of his from Withnail and I, and I think Bruce is really the perfect person to execute the vision of Hunter S Thompson’s. If anybody understands that madness, it’d be Bruce.

RT: How was Johnny’s Paul Kemp, as opposed to his Fear and Loathing portrayal of Hunter’s alter ego?

It’s totally different, because Hunter S. Thompson, at the point of writing The Rum Diary, was very different to the Gonzo he later became when he wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Hunter at that point was pre-Gonzo… he was something a little bit more pure.


Drive Angry is released this week.

Tag Cloud

mutant Lucasfilm BET Awards Trailer Nickelodeon Horror Avengers PaleyFest CNN Binge Guide Mary poppins festival Western Biopics 20th Century Fox HBO Max YouTube rotten movies we love Elton John robots Anna Paquin Tubi worst war TBS IFC Discovery Channel Epix Amazon Studios Apple 4/20 2016 fast and furious WarnerMedia NBC Masterpiece Certified Fresh The CW Ellie Kemper Awards screen actors guild Captain marvel Oscars Television Critics Association hollywood Pixar Academy Awards Film chucky Marathons films Ovation what to watch crime drama toy story zero dark thirty versus latino superhero Apple TV Plus Vudu FX on Hulu festivals OWN President venice critics AMC Disney+ Disney Plus Election romantic comedy period drama revenge spider-man dceu E3 E! joker children's TV Funimation dc doctor who FXX asian-american indiana jones anthology Cartoon Network cancelled ITV TCA Winter 2020 Walt Disney Pictures classics Amazon cancelled TV shows LGBT TCA 2017 Sundance YouTube Premium Holidays 21st Century Fox series unscripted El Rey Nominations Polls and Games Trophy Talk Acorn TV IFC Films Trivia video Video Games 007 based on movie Arrowverse YA ESPN screenings CBS Sundance Now Comedy game of thrones harry potter Winners Toys Pride Month Cosplay reboot Apple TV+ Spike Marvel Television Nat Geo ghosts TCA Awards Britbox remakes supernatural Grammys Year in Review adventure Heroines Lionsgate facebook spain theme song BET Box Office cancelled TV series Crunchyroll casting TV renewals anime animated obituary football Paramount Network Classic Film 45 USA Network SundanceTV Television Academy Logo canceled TV shows adaptation Showtime Turner Valentine's Day Universal Warner Bros. sitcom directors See It Skip It Music Thanksgiving biography renewed TV shows rotten emmy awards spinoff award winner TV Land Adult Swim kids free movies Summer Reality TLC Hallmark miniseries Endgame natural history USA Lifetime Emmys The Walking Dead Ghostbusters Spring TV Opinion DC streaming service BBC comedies vampires dark golden globes Mary Poppins Returns Countdown Christmas space BBC One stop motion cartoon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt National Geographic Schedule romance Super Bowl 2017 A24 Disney Plus Comic Book American Society of Cinematographers south america Amazon Prime Star Wars universal monsters Song of Ice and Fire MCU HBO Go Disney streaming service Tarantino DirecTV crime thriller Emmy Nominations hist Film Festival Peacock blaxploitation witnail Set visit a nightmare on elm street Netflix Christmas movies Musical Photos comiccon Rocketman First Look toronto tv talk Best and Worst spanish language The Arrangement social media The Witch best child's play Teen die hard mission: impossible Awards Tour First Reviews Rocky all-time GLAAD GoT Watching Series worst movies History disaster reviews 71st Emmy Awards Fall TV scorecard Pop Black History Month Interview medical drama APB quibi jamie lee curtis Chernobyl VH1 Pirates Dark Horse Comics richard e. Grant cooking 2019 TIFF transformers Freeform television PlayStation Chilling Adventures of Sabrina NYCC crime OneApp discovery Mindy Kaling Podcast indie Brie Larson sports Spectrum Originals composers elevated horror boxoffice cancelled television Tumblr movies concert Character Guide Red Carpet documentaries ABC BAFTA breaking bad foreign video on demand Martial Arts Superheroes VOD justice league Country Sci-Fi batman 2015 dramedy RT History Marvel laika The Purge nature Hallmark Christmas movies Infographic mockumentary Tomatazos travel WGN Women's History Month Sony Pictures cinemax ABC Family Premiere Dates science fiction cats MTV halloween psychological thriller Baby Yoda Crackle cops CMT ratings crossover Animation Creative Arts Emmys DGA game show Shondaland Starz SXSW binge movie Netflix Hulu strong female leads Comedy Central stoner DC Comics Disney Mystery DC Universe Hear Us Out Sundance TV christmas movies Star Trek Cannes Pop TV Columbia Pictures sequels 2018 A&E green book Drama comic FX VICE Family PBS Shudder Quiz finale BBC America sequel aliens Action Reality Competition docudrama Black Mirror Writers Guild of America comics Mudbound psycho Winter TV 72 Emmy Awards documentary LGBTQ diversity blockbuster political drama X-Men slashers TNT New York Comic Con Syfy serial killer twilight Marvel Studios MSNBC thriller Calendar CW Seed TCA dogs nbcuniversal Lifetime Christmas movies Fox News book police drama zombie spy thriller Extras Pet Sematary streaming Travel Channel franchise technology talk show politics Paramount nfl name the review criterion true crime sag awards canceled FOX stand-up comedy cars satire cults singing competition Comics on TV TruTV San Diego Comic-Con Rom-Com HBO YouTube Red Holiday Musicals Stephen King news hispanic parents CBS All Access historical drama Disney Channel Food Network TV Mary Tyler Moore Bravo 24 frames dragons GIFs Kids & Family Superheroe 2020 zombies Sneak Peek Rock RT21 TCM Fantasy Turner Classic Movies scary movies teaser SDCC Esquire Amazon Prime Video independent werewolf