For many of us, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is the quintessential superhero movie. As one of the best reviewed movies of all time, the credit falls on the excellent acting of the cast as much as it does on Nolan's visionary direction. That said, The Dark Knight also has something that has long since distinguished it from other top-notch superhero film: Heath Ledger.
The Aussie actors' take on #theJoker has been lauded as one of, if not the best by fans and critics alike. The actor even received a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, thanks to his brilliant and terrifying take on the demented villain. Now, a book entitled The 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by author Joseph McCabe reveals just what extents the actor went to get into character for the film.
Heath Ledger Didn't Shy Away From Fight Scenes
An excerpt from a 2008 interview with Christian Bale was exclusively released online by The Hollywood Reporter, and it reveals just how dedicated Heath Ledger was to his craft and what it was liking working with him.
Our first scene was in an interrogation room together, and I saw that he’s a helluva actor who’s completely committed to it [...] As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realizes that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda 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 slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.
Clearly, Ledger did not back down from making his character as unhinged as he is in the comics. It's no wonder that the scene is regarded as one of the most well-acted scenes in any movie ever.
In the same excerpt, director Christopher Nolan also revealed how committed Heath Ledger was to the role, finally explaining the reason for why the #Joker in the film would lick his lips so often:
The thing with the tongue was…he had this prosthetic that was covering his lower lip and it would come unglued sometimes. I’d seen him sort of sticking it back with his tongue, and it was only after a few weeks of shooting that I realized that wasn’t what he was doing, that he had started to adopt that actually as part of the character. [...] He has all kinds of interesting facets, all kinds of mannerisms and things. What I like about them all is they all feel that they come from the character. They don’t feel like actorly touches. I read them as genuinely part of the fabric of a real human being.
It's amazing just how involved Ledger seems to be in the development of his character and it certainly paid off. Ledger's role as the Batman's greatest foe not only assured his place as one of the pioneering actors of all time but his take on Joker also reinstated just how amazing the character from the comics is.
What do you think of Ledger's performance as the Joker? Make sure to comment below!
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)