September 24, 2020

How Playing The Joker Changed Heath Ledger For Good

Heath Ledger's and tiny death sparked all kinds of rumors that transformed the actors performance as a Joker in the Dark Knight into the stuff of legend what's the truth about the many ways he threw himself fearlessly into one of the most iconic roles of modern cinema Heath Ledger had a long history of sleep troubles reportedly struggling with erasing minds for years before portraying the Joker however his chronic insomnia became much more prevalent and aggressive after filming The Dark Knight his difficulty sleeping was summed up in a New York Times profile in 2007 mother films in production it is a physically and mentally draining role his Joker is a psychopathic mass murdering schizophrenic clown with zero empathy he said cheerfully and as often happens when he throws himself into a paths he is not sleeping much during this interview letter reported that he has slept an average of two hours per day over the previous week he even mentioned taking one ambien to no effect and after taking another he was only able to stay asleep for an hour this interview which took place several months before Ledger's death shed light onto how sleep deprivation changed a young actor and an offhand remark about his resistance to sleeping medications even eerily foreshadowed his eminent fatal overdose on prescription drugs although director Christopher Nolan gay peace Ledger quite a bit of creative control over his version of the Joker he did suggest several sources of inspiration these recommendations included the paintings of Francis Bacon the Anthony Burgess novel a Clockwork Orange and heavy metal music Nolan suggested these so that ledger could understand the type of Joker he was envisioning for the film and several of these inspirations helped to form the final version that appeared on screen I thought my jokes for bad one of the characters from a Clockwork Orange Alex de large was particularly influential on ledges to velopment Sophos Joker character several images of the large appear throughout the legendary Joker diary that the actor created during his self-imposed isolation in order to get into the Wrights Head scape for the character since Alex a large is depicted as a sociopath who steals and assaults innocent people purely for his own amusement the Clockwork Orange it is only not sure that the Joker would consider him to be a kindred spirit in fact the Joker's iconic glare in The Dark Knight is considered to be a recreation of the famed Kubrick stare the expression that the large played by Malcolm McDowell used in the film should have a Clockwork Orange since Heath Ledger wanted his affection of the Joker to be completely different from any previous versions such as those played by Jack Nicholson or Cesar Romero he isolated himself in a London hotel for around six weeks to cultivate an entirely new character during a 2007 interview with Empire Leger briefly went over how his experience preparing for the role changed him saying I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month locked myself away formed a little diary and experimented with voices seeing it's not the Joker's most iconic features are his mocking voice and sardonic laugh Ledger wanted to make sure his Joker's voice sets him apart from those who played the part before this was no small feat that's aside from the greats who had played the Joker on screen Mark Hamill had made his focal mark on the character and animation in order to formulate his own unique voice for the Joker let you practice different pictures and tones he wanted to be sure that the voice he chose reflected the personality of the character he was envisioning saying it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts according to Nolan Ledger up and studying ventriloquist dummies because he found their voices terrifying he decided to try and emulate one and using the training on inflections he had received from a voice coach managed to mouth his dialogue to create an eerie sound effect I'm gonna kill you although not all actors are deeply concerned with the costumes or props a character uses a dark night prosthetic supervisor Connor O'Sullivan said Heath Ledger became heavily involved for the painting on his face apparently ledger and makeup artist John Kat Leone jr.

gravitated to water Francis Bacon painting that no that had recommended as inspiration for the Joker's makeup Nolan went into more detail about how the makeup design helped flesh out Ledger's Joker character saying we have a Francis Bacon spin to his face this corruption this decay in the texture of the look itself it's grubby you can almost imagine what he smells like besides working with coglioni our makeup design Ledger was also very engaged in the wardrobe and prop departments he worked closely with a Dark Knight costume designer Lindy hemming when choosing the right the Gaul deferred for the character he even chose the Joker's signature weapon from a selection of different rubber knives laid out by the prop team in the German documentary Heath Ledger too young to die Legislature land just how much a son change to prepare for the Dark Knight's explaining that galvanizing a character was quote typical of Heath all those Ledger was a seasoned method actor he would already sunk his teeth into challenging roles he pushed himself even further than ever when getting into character for the Joker after Ledger's and timely death rumours ran rampant that his turn as a Joker had taken a toll on the young actor and led to his demise however a documentary titled I am Heath Ledger created by the actors friends and family and released in 2017 the spells are theories about his death during an interview with Entertainment Weekly following a screening of the documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival that a ceased actors sister Kate Ledger officially set the record straight about the State of Mind before his death saying he was having fun he wasn't depressed about the Joker although Heath Ledger was incredibly successful in his portrayal of the Joker he was initially very skeptical of superhero films in fact when Nolan began casting for the Dark Knight's predecessor Batman Begins he originally contacted Ledger about playing the titular character but was turned down with the note that he would quote never do this kind of film despite his lack of interest in comic book movies Ledger quickly changed his tune after watching Batman Begins he appreciated the realism that no them brought to the table so much that he enthusiastically reached out about playing the Joker in the sequel before the screenplay was even finished as I was sort of surprised to get the call because it really more came from his end about wanting to get involved wanting to talk to me about what would be doing while he was preparing for the role led to embrace his nerdy side him read several graphic novels that no than recommended including Alan Moore and Brian Poland's iconic The Killing Joke after his isolation lega described his process of utilizing these comics to help him get into character saying it's a combination of reading all the comic books I kid that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it in the Dark Knight The Joker makes two broadcasts threatening the people of Gotham City and taunting Batman although no then supervisor filming process he granted Ledger complete creative control over these videos as he wanted to be sure they were taken from the Joker's perspective originally Nolan was only planning on having the actor direct the first video but he was so impressed with a result that he changed his mind giving Leger the opportunity to direct the second to let sure had already expressed interest in trying his hand at directing and this was his first real chance to branch out into a new artistic endeavor before his death Leger had already begun directing several music videos such as grace wood Roose david bowie cover quicksand and Modest Mouse's king rats he was also in the process of adapting the 1983 novel the Queen's Gambit into a feature-length film Berta's untimely death sadly stopped him from finishing the project Heath Ledger didn't just push himself mentally to get into character for the Joker he also pushed himself physically the actor was so dedicated to the role that he actually encouraged Christian Bale to physically assault him in order to make one scene more authentic although Bale tried to convince Leger that the scene would look just as real if they fade the fighting Ledger insisted that Bale didn't pull any punches and even tried to provoke him to hit harder Bale himself went into more detail about the scene during an interview that was published in the book 100 things Batman fans should know and do before they die by Joseph McCabe the actor said he was kind of egging me on I was saying you know what I really don't need to actually hit you it's going to look just as good if I don't and he's going go on go on go on he was flapping himself around and there were tiled walls inside of that set which are cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them his commitment was total despite Baylor's attempts to convince his co-star des faking the fight would still look just as realistic Leger was determined to have it be as authentic as possible few actors are so committed to their roles that they would happily crack tiles by throwing themselves into walls Christopher and Jonathan Nolan may have developed the Dark Knight's Joker but Heath Ledger alone gave birth to some of the characters most iconic moments through improvisation one of the most notable examples of ledges contributions came during a scene in Gotham lock up and he mockingly applauds after Gordon gets promoted even though the clapping was on originally written in the film script Nolan loved ledges suck a stick claps so most study ended up including it there were also rumors alleged chains a hospital destruction scene improvising moments when as confused and fiddles with a detonator before the explosion follows a few moments later however the story has had some holes poked through it suggesting that the scene may have been scripted this sudden talent for improvisation was a surprise coming from Leger as he had never been known to improvise scenes before in fact director and lever counted ledger becoming upset when his Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal tried going off script saying Heath just got really upset really upset like his whole progress was disrupted Jake is more of an improv actor try this try that but Heath preparation was really deep despite the fact that Heath Ledger had never read a Batman comic before he began preparing for his role he quickly fell in love with the character of the Joker he considered the Joker to be an instant favorite in his career and co-star Christian Bale were called ledger telling him that it was the most fun had ever had with a character Bale went on to corroborate how much Ledger enjoyed shooting The Dark Knight after rumors of depression surrounded the young actors death telling reporters I saw him as having nothing but the best time playing the Joker at the end of the day he was having a wonderful time making this movie I say he couldn't have been happier doing him Ledger's own sister Kate stepped into the spotlight to dismiss rumors that his overdose was intentional and even revealed that Ledger had already been planning to return as Joker she said he was so proud of what he had done in The Dark Knight and I know he had plans for another Batman he loved working with Chris Nolan and Christian Bale and Gary Oldman he just had the best time ever doing that film Heath Ledger broke down quite a few boundaries with his Joker performance in the dark night when awards season rolled around most superhero films despite constantly topping box office sales are rarely considered by the Academy however legend is a joker brought quite a bit of attention to this privacy over the genre and earned him a multitude of honors including a Golden Globe British BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award see I'm not a monster I'm just ahead of the curve making great strides for superhero films wasn't the only way Ledger's posthumous awards change his legacy he became one of only two actors to win an Oscar after death before him Peter fainted one for his work in the 1976 satirical film Network after passing from a heart attack led be nominated for Best Actor for his role in Brokeback Mountain back in 2006 but never got to see a win his father Kim accepted the award for the dark night on his behalf with a beautiful statement on his legacy this award tonight would have humbly validated heaves quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here his peers in an industry that he's so loved check out one of our newest videos right here plus even more looper videos but your favorite stars are coming soon subscribe to our YouTube channel and to the bail so you don't miss a single one [Music].

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