BySophie Atkinson, writer at
Sophie Atkinson

In prepping for his performance in The Dark Knight as the Joker, Heath Ledger locked himself into a London hotel room for a month and put together a character diary. In the diary was everything he needed to get a sense of the Joker's character, including a series of macabre jokes that he thought would tickle the Joker's funny bone. These centered on AIDS, blind babies, seriously injured doctors, geniuses with brain damage, and - well, you get the picture.

Now for the first time, we get to see in the diary, courtesy of German documentary, Too Young To Die, which shows Heath's father Kim flipping through the pages. The YouTube video below is dubbed in French, so here's a translation of what Kim says, courtesy of EdwardInSpiteOfMe.

"This is the Joker’s diary. In order to inhabit his character, he locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch.

The hospital scene is interesting because when he was a kid, his sister Kate liked to dress him up as a nurse. He was really funny like that. He also was in the movie. This is a make-up test which was done eight months before. Before the end of the shooting he wrote ‘bye bye’ on the back of the page. It was hard to see this."

Check out the video below:


I know it's been said over and over, but it feels worth repeating: Heath Ledger's performance is absolutely, mesmerising. Check out the video below for a reminder if it's been a while since you watched The Dark Knight.


A lot of internet pundits have stressed their surprise that there was absolutely no mention of Tom Waits in the diary, someone most people had assumed he'd used as inspiration for the Joker's gravelly voice. What do you think of the diary? Has it shed new light on the character for you?


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