15 Less Known Facts About Heath Ledger's Life And His Iconic Role as The Joker in The Dark Knight
Let's begin with something that will create a newfound respect in you for Ledger.
When Heath Ledger decided to take his acting career to Hollywood, he literally refused every Tv or stage role he was offered. When he was down to his last $150, he was offered a role in 'Ten Things I Hate About You.'
You have to be bold to make a difference...
#14 The Oscar
We all know he one a very very deserved award for his performance. But what a lot of people don't know is that this was the first superhero movie that garnered an Oscar. And for good reason, I must say!
#13 Keith Ledger
Heath Ledger died on January 22, 2008 and on January 23, 2008, he was the #2 most searched person on Google. 10 of the 20 most searched words, according to Google, were related to Heath. The search strings included his family-former fiancee Michelle Williams and their daughter Matlida Ledger, his apartment address (421 Broome Street), and his most famous movies (10 Things I Hate About You and Brokeback Mountain).
Interestingly enough, Americans didn't know how to spell and the second most popular search string was Keith Ledger.
#12 Forgetting Lines
During the elevator scene in the movie The Dark Knight, The Joker visits the penthouse of Bruce Wayne, Heath's arrival and performance gave Micheal Caine (Alfred) such a fright that he forgot his lines.
According to Michael, Heathâ€™s joker topped Jack Nicholsonâ€™s joker in the sense that Ledgerâ€™s joker was a scary psychopath and Jackâ€™s was like a clown figure who could be funny and make you laugh.
#11 His Childhood
Heath Ledger was an accomplished chess player and won Western Australia's junior chess championship, at just age 10. He frequently played with other enthusiasts at Washington Square Park as an adult.
At the time of his death he was planning on performing in and directing an adaptation of the 1983 chess-related novel 'The Queen's Gambit' by Walter Trevis. It would have been his first feature film as a director.
While preparing for his role as The Joker, Ledger stayed for a month in a hotel room during which he wrote a diary as The Joker. In it, he listed down things he thought the Joker would find funny - blind babies, AIDS, seriously injured doctors, geniuses with brain damage, landmines, brunch and sombrero.
Heath's father, Kim Ledger says he had a knack for delving deep into a character, but this diary really took it up a notch.
#9 The Make Up
The Joker's make up in the movie was something that the character could not - just as Heath himself. And guess what? Heath designed the make up himself. He wanted to show the audience that the Joker did his make up himself.
The make up team approved of it and worked on it for every single day the movie was shot.
#8 Unadulterated Genius
In the movie where Joker asks Harvey Dent to kill him or join his rank, he actually places his finger in such a manner that even if Dent were to pull the trigger, the hammer would not work. He really didn't have any choice, essentially. Joker indeed did not look like "a guy with a plan."
#7 Beat 'Em Up!
In the scene where The Joker is captured and the Batman is to interrogate him, Heath insisted Christian Bale take real blows at him simply because he wanted to know what the Joker would feel about it. Crazy right?
#6 Slow Claps For This Guy
In the scene where Gordon gets promoted to commissioner and the Joker is in a jail cell, he claps in a way we all couldn't forget. That look in his eyes, the way his hands met. Guess what? That was not in the script, but Nolan told the crew to not stop filming and the scene made it to the movie.
#5 Wanna Know How I Got These Scars?
We'll tell you. Although Heath worse prosthetic scars this kind of scar is called the Glasgow. It originated in Scotland which is a result of torture meted out by the Scottish gangs.
It is a cut starting from each corner of the mouth and stopping just short of the ears. In old times, knives were used for this effect but in modern times, the mobsters hold a person down and insert a credit card lengthwise into the person's mouth to keep the mouth open. The cuts form scars resembling a grin.
Heath Ledger would skateboard on the set while he was wearing the costume and full makeup of The Joker. He was not in the character while he did this but was being his regular self. The video speaks for itself.
#3 Modest Mouse
Heath Ledger, before his untimely death in January 2008, began working on a music video for 'King Rat' by the American indie rock band Modest Mouse. The unfinished video was completed by co-director Daniel Auber and others. The video was released on August 4, 2009.
Ledger was hoping to bring awareness to the illegal commercial whale hunts taking place off the shores of Australia by reversing the roles of the parties involved.
#2 Parting Gift
Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell gave their entire salaries from the movie 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassius' to Heath Ledger's daughter. It was an act of concern because Heath had not updated his will to include his daughter Matilda due to his unexpected death.
#1 The Nurse
In the scene where the Joker, dressed up as a nurse visits Harvey Dent in the hospital, the name tag on his uniform reads Matilda - after his daughter.
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