January 22, 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of Heath Ledger’s death at the young age of 28. While the late Australian actor had a number of memorable performances during his brief but eclectic career, his iconic role as The Joker in The Dark Knight is considered by many to be his best. Ledger was awarded a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance and gave viewers a cinematic villain on the level of Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter in terms of impact and influence.
In a recent interview,The Dark Knight’s director Christopher Nolan reflected on working with Ledger and how they collaborated on creating his interpretation of the popular Batman villain.
“A lot of what Heath did he would discuss with me,” the filmmaker revealed on BBC Radio 1’s Movies That Made Me podcast (via ComicBookMovie). “He’s sort of give me hints of what he was going to do and we’d talk about it a bit and I would try to be an audience for him, sort of gauge with him what he was doing but a lot of it was about unpredictability and I think he wanted to play his cards a little close to the chest.”
According to Nolan, Ledger was quite private when it came to developing his character and the director had very little insight into his approach during shooting. “He would very gradually reveal to me the voice and the way he was going to do things, but not in one go, not ‘here’s the Joker.’ We sort of watched him develop it with the wardrobe and the makeup and everything. I got to be a part of that creative process which was great fun, but on set there were always moments like that clapping or things he would do with his voice. His voice was always so unpredictable.”
“I took huge pride in having been in any way involved with this great performer, this legacy,” Nolan added. “He was an extraordinary person, an extraordinary actor and for him to recognized in that way I think it was very meaningful for his family and meaningful for film history that what he contributed — and he contributed in many different ways to film history — but that it marked in that way I was very proud to have been part of that.”
A decade after The Dark Knight’s original release, what do you think about Ledger’s performance as The Joker? Did the actor deserve all the praise and accolades? Does the performance still hold up? Let us know in the comments section!
Source: BBC Radio 1