Weather Updates

Rising starlet Amber Heard makes a big splash in ‘The Rum Diary’

Amber Heard (left) loved working with Johnny Depp her co-star “The Rum Diary.” “He’s such wonderful perstrue artist” she says.

Amber Heard (left) loved working with Johnny Depp, her co-star in “The Rum Diary.” “He’s such a wonderful person and a true artist,” she says. “He’s also someone who is true to his convictions.”

storyidforme: 20416956
tmspicid: 7630161
fileheaderid: 3456166

Updated: November 30, 2011 8:04AM

Amber Heard knows how to make an entrance.

In “The Rum Diary,” she meets gonzo journalist Paul Kemp (played by Johnny Depp) late at night when he’s in a boat, and she pops up skinny-dipping in the ocean.

“I’m supposed to be some kind of mermaid,” Heard, 25, says with a laugh. “The amazing thing is we filmed in a part of Puerto Rico where there is so much plankton in the water that it attaches to your skin and makes you glow.

“So I meet Johnny in the film as his own personal, glow-in-the-dark mermaid.”

Only from the mind of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson.

“The Rum Diary,” which opened Friday, is based on the Thompson classic about a gonzo journalist in Puerto Rico during the 1960s. “He was such a genius,” says Heard of Thompson. “Hunter made it worth the effort, the exhaustion and the heartache it takes to do this kind of project and then wait for it to come out.”

There was no heartache in working with Depp. “He’s a wonderful person and a true artist,” she says. “He is also someone who is true to his convictions.”

Heard plays the pampered girlfriend of a wealthy industrialist (Aaron Eckhart). “My character embodies the American dream. She’s a possession of men. No one cares that she feels as if she’s trapped in a cage.

“Then she meets Johnny’s character, who represents love, art, truth, justice and courage. She wants out of the cage.”

“It just takes a few shots of rum for her to get on this quest to discover real love.”

Heard marvels that her career has been “funny, amazing and peculiar” so far. “Whether I’m racing around a foreign country in a vintage Corvette with Johnny Depp or jumping over cars with Nic Cage in Louisiana, I keep finding myself in situations that are truly bizarre. But I just jump in feet first.

“I appreciate the oddness of a situation.”

The Austin, Texas, native graduated from high school early and decided to go the modeling route. But Heard does not want to be known as One of Them. “I’m not a model turned actress,” says the screen stunner. “I think that has been sensationalized in the past. I guess everyone wants to label you. Modeling was never something I took seriously or wanted to be or do. It afforded me a bit of money to live and travel.”

Heard knows that jobs come and go. Her NBC series “The Playboy Club” was one of the first casualties of the fall season. “I’m disappointed because I had such a fun time making the show, and we bonded as a group of women on that series,” she says.

“At the end of the day, this is a business and certain projects just have a short life. I’m looking at the positives. It gives me the opportunity to do other things.”

Heard is based in L.A., where she says, “I’m always surprised when someone recognizes me. It feels strange.”

That might happen more often as her film credits continue to grow. She will next be seen in a film called “Syrup.” This project has that certain glow that doesn’t come from plankton.

“I play an amazing­ly strong, independent, complex female who is a marketing exec in New York City. It’s a dark satire,” she says. “It’s definitely one of those projects where I want to invest my time and heart.”

Big Pix News Inc.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.