Amber Heard has one weird trick for narrowing down the amount of scripts she has to read: throw out the sexist ones! “I started saying to my agents, ‘Don’t send me scripts where the first adjective in the female description is ‘beautiful.’ And if the second is ‘enigmatic,’ throw it in the trash.’ The word ‘enigmatic’ means ‘Her backstory doesn’t matter.’ I fell for that so many times,” she told Allure in a new profile for the December issue of the magazine.
Heard is far from the only actress noticing how weak roles for women begin at the script stage. A year ago, film producer Ross Putman put female descriptions on blast by posting ones from real scripts under the handle @femscriptintros. The Tumblr Casting Call Woe has done the same since 2013. The descriptions on both feeds are . . . one-note. Heard estimates that she reads 5 to 10 scripts a week, and “4 out of 5” have “the same adjectives: beautiful or sexy or some version of it.”
The actress said that her own feminist reckoning happened in the spring of 2016, around the same time she filed for divorce
from Johnny Depp, alleging domestic violence, though she didn’t make that connection explicit (Depp’s lawyer Laura Wasser said that the actor did not abuse Heard, and claimed she was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.” They both withdrew these respective allegations after the settlement). “Before the Grabber in Chief, before the reeling back that we collectively had as women, I had already had my own reeling back. I had already realized the roots of misogyny reach far deeper and are far more ubiquitous. I didn’t realize that until about a year and a half ago,” she told Allure. “I had been living with my head in the sand because I was comparing it to other places or to the past. I did not realize how far we have to go to be equal. [And by equal] I mean fair.”
As an early adopter of progressive ideals, she says, it might have been harder to realize. “I have supported the [American Civil Liberties Union] since I was 16,” she said. “When I was growing up, my friends had ’NSync posters, and I collected feminist propaganda from World War II. Our mothers and grandmothers worked to make an environment that was deceptively comfortable. I took it for granted. By comparison to other places or previous generations, we’re doing great. Yeah, sure, there have been some sexist things here. I was so wrong. I was so…