Dr. Louise Mahler has studied the two parties and their demeanor in court and states that they are both putting on a show with different levels of credibility.
The publicly broadcast and high-profile court proceedings of Johnny Depp's defamation case against Amber Heard has been widely watched. It has turned everyone into an armchair expert on the matter as the case of domestic violence and abuse has become a public spectacle.
Fans of both the stars have been vehemently making their case for them. “You’re going to see who the real Johnny Depp is — behind the fame, behind the pirate costumes," Heard's lawyer, J. Benjamin Rottenborn said. "Because Johnny Depp brought this case, all of this is going to come out." And Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez, has stated, "She’s going to give the performance of a lifetime in this courtroom."
But a body language and communications expert has stated that both parties are putting on a show in court. They are renowned actors, after all.
Dr. Louise Mahler spoke to 7NEWS.com.au and stated that Depp and Heard are both carefully playing courthouse characters. She first noted that this landmark trial is taking place during a societal shift in perspective regarding the power dynamics of relationships. “Men have always had the advantage in these cases over many decades, and now we’re turning it around with the #MeToo movement and taking women very seriously,” Mahler noted adding, that we should also not forget that they are Hollywood actors.
“They’re both actors and Johnny Depp has chosen a simpler act. So his act is just consistent and slow. And he’s able to hold that for week after week after week," Mahler explained. “Whereas her emotive act is harder to maintain. Who knows if she’s just exhausted, bored, whatever, but it doesn’t come across well.” She also noted that people tend to do "weird things under stress." She has studied their demeanor in court and has been able to note that Heard's act has been less convincing than Depp's so far.
Whether it is Heard's crying hysterics while taking the stand or her complete lack of interest while watching from the sidelines, Mahler says, "every single thing that Amber Heard does to me lacks credibility," adding in reference to the tension in her jaw, “She gets that right from the beginning. It’s when she tries to recall the emotional situations, it seems very manufactured.” Also noting that she could not see any tears when Heard was crying on the stand, Mahler said, "The other thing is the voice is monotone for a very difficult situation. No real emotion comes into that. It just stays monotone.”
As for Depp, she noted that "he’s got his character down pat" of a man who "can hardly believe this is happening." Mahler explained, "He’s taken a strategy of closing his eyes, breathing and speaking slowly, looking down. He has gaps in his speech. He speaks slowly. He has a sense of lack of belief, which then brings about a bit of humor.” Something that meme-makers are having a field day with. “He has stuck to that act throughout, which makes it credible because consistency builds credibility," she added, "It’s one of the keys to trust. It has unconscious messages to the listener, which says this man is consistent. He is consistently smooth in his behavior."
“Is it a true performance? Who knows. But that’s certainly the way their acts are coming across,” Mahler stated.