ByDane Bossey, writer at
The Name is Bossey. Dane Bossey.
Dane Bossey

Heath Ledger's Academy Award winning portrayal of Batman's arch nemesis is arguably the most iconic movie villain of all time. That being said, I had never given much thought to what went into the madness or contemplated how much work Heath Ledger put into the role to make it so impeccable until I came across a video on YouTube of the musician/actor Tom Waits being interviewed, followed by the mob scene from The Dark Knight. I'm sure a lot of you have seen this video already, but if you haven't take a look.

Pretty crazy, right? The similarities between the two's mannerisms and the voice are uncanny. Suddenly I was seeing the Heath Ledger's Joker in a whole new light. I began to wonder who else may have inspired Ledger.

The article "Heath Ledger Joker diary offers fascinating look at ‘Dark Knight’ role" in the La Times herocomplex section written by Gina McIntyre states how Heath Ledger's personal diary pointed to Alex DeLarge from the cult classic A Clockwork Orange as being a big inspiration for Ledger. As far as I know there is no mention of Waits in the diary.

In the brief scene, the actor’s father, Kim Ledger, pages through his son’s journal, which offers an interesting glimpse into the reference points the actor used to help create his indelible take on Batman’s greatest foe.
Malcolm McDowell’s cane-twirling Alex DeLarge from “A Clockwork Orange” figures prominently.

It is kind of hard to hear over the French narrator, but here is the video of the scene described above, by YouTube user Jose Mellinas

It's quite possible Ledger took inspiration from many different sources, but to me it seems Alex Delarge and Tom Waits were very influential on the legendary antagonist.

What do you think? Did Ledger have anymore prominent figures he took inspiration from? Comment below and let me know.


Do you think Heath Ledger's Joker was inspired by Tom Waits?


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