Heath Ledger started out young in the industry, 14-year-old to be exact. The actor worked in some Australian tele-series before moving to America to build his career. He became a well-known actor, was the heartthrob of an entire generation, and his fandom increased with his roles in films like 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, Monster’s Ball and The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger stole the hearts of many with his portrayal of DC universe’s most revered villain, The Joker. In fact, there was no essence of Heath Ledger in the film as the character of Joker was so deeply ingrained. This led to fans thinking of Heath Ledger as The Joker. The posthumous release also won him accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The trailer mostly features Heath with different cameras or behind cameras in general. Somehow this brings home the point that the actor was always interested in directing films than acting. In fact, his friend Trevor Dicarlo said that Heath was always a director and that acting was just a way to get there. He did say, “What doesn’t kill you, simply makes you stranger!” in The Dark Knight. His life did seem like a shining example of this legendary dialogue.
This documentary film follows the life and struggles of Heath Ledger and provides an insight to the actor beyond his famous character. It is scheduled to be released at the Tribeca Film Festival, which is expected to take place from April 19th to 30th. This documentary by director Derik Murray is the latest installment of the ‘I Am’ series. The other iconic figures he has covered before are Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel and Chris Farley. An exhibition about Ledger’s life is also to be conducted in October 2017 by the Western Australian Museum.
This trailer leads us to take a look at the extent to which Heath Ledger went for acting.
When Heath Ledger spent a day with a real-life Junkie: Candy
Heath Ledger played the role of a heroin addict in the 2006 Australian film Candy. For this role, the actor had spent an entire day with a real-life junkie in the red light district of Sydney. In an interview with The Telegraph, the actor explained how this man even showed him the prosthetic arm. He said, “The arm has fully functioning veins so that the addicts can learn to hit up better. It’s pretty amazing stuff.” He had also given up surfing for this role and stayed away from the sun to immerse himself into his character. In fact, the reporter Mark Chipperfield even observed how Heath’s eyes looked troubled and how the role clearly affected him.
Physical transformation at a time when such things were not in vogue: Ned Kelly
Heath went through a physical transformation for his titular role in Ned Kelly. This was in 2003 when physical transformations were not much in vogue for lead actors. The film was about a legendary outlaw and bushranger in Victoria based on the novel, Our Sunshine. In a telephonic conversation with Paul Bettany, the English actor for Interview Magazine, Heath had said that for the physical transformation was inspired by a letter (56 pages long) that Ned had sent to a newspaper editor. The actor did not have much to go on in the physical appearance department because there were only two portraits of Ned — a headshot and a full-length portrait.
On Role playing and manipulation: Brokeback Mountain
Heath was nominated for an Academy Award for Brokeback Mountain. During this time, he had given an interview to Entertainment Weekly, which was then animated by Blank on Blank. In this interview, the actor had said, “My nervous energy is usually the easiest form of energy to tap into,” when the reporter had pointed out that he was fidgeting. He added, “It is a pattern for me, going in there with anxiety, self-doubt, and telling that I can’t do this. I am not and actor. I also think that it is important for us to be willing to be manipulated.” Heath explained how you have to let the director manipulate you while performing, and trust them. The result of this manipulation, the Dark Knight actor says is quite interesting. It was also here that he said, “Acting truly is harnessing the power of belief.”
And lastly, the Joker journal that he maintained: The Dark Knight
After Ledger passed away, he won a posthumous award for his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as The Joker. Heath attained the height of his fame with his performance in this role. His father released a video on Reddit that shows the journal that Heath maintained when he was preparing for this character. From locking himself up in a hotel room to taking inspiration from Malcolm Mcdowell’s character in Clockwork Orange – the journal has it all. To see an actor put so much effort and preparation for a role is not common. But, it was this preparation that immortalised Heath as The Joker forever.