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It has been 7 long years and we still can’t stop raving about the spell binding performance of Heath Ledger as the Menacing Batman Antagonist – The Joker. Heath’s had surpassed the other veteran actors by miles with his unique and intense performance of the twisted villain on the silver screen. We can go on and on with this, but for now we’d like to have a look at the facts about legendary heath ledger and would like to pay a tribute to the late actor whom we give full credit for immortalising this joker super-villain who is no joke !
Read on :
1. Heath Ledger was the first actor ever to play Joker who was not an American
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Unlike the other veterans such as Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson, and even the latest to the list Jared Leto, the joker has long been played by all these American actors with only one exception. Heath Ledger makes it to the list as the only non-american actor (he was an Australian who traveled to US for career in films) to play the iconic rival to the batman.
2. He locked himself in a hotel room with batman comics to prepare for the role
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Heath was a very dedicated actor and he was also known to go extra miles to prepare for his roles in various movies, but for this movie he went a bit too far. He was reported to have locked himself in an hotel room for a month with lots of batman comics. He prepared himself for everything from the posture to the voice to the gestures of the characters. This is not surprising given his actual performance in the film showcased it as it gave us goosebumps and he will forever be remembered for his act in Dark Knight.
3. He designed his own make-up for the role which Nolan approved as a good idea
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It was revealed during the making of the film the actor had various discussions with his director ( Christopher Nolan ) during the making of the film. And it is a lesser known fact that Ledger designed his own make up for the project. He fetched the make up items by himself from a drug store and applied the make-up to his face. Also Nolan approved to his idea as it gave the character a very realistic touch.
4. Even DC Comics does not confirm any origin story about the Joker !
Although there have been many theories and fan fiction logics doing the round about the origins of what lead to making of the psychopath killer Joker, DC comics does not confirm or deny any theories regarding what is the truth. Even the filmmakers of Dark Knight neither explain nor dwell into the origin story of their antagonist. The character just appears in Gotham out of nowhere.
5. It was Ledger’s Idea to keep the white make-up on his face
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Although a make-up artists and expert team were hired by the Hollywood production company, Ledger went on to experiment with his own looks and he told the director that rather than going with any artificial touch ups, they would keep the white faced make-up, also it would have made it look like in the film as if the Joker applied his own make-up. So this was a much more authentic choice.
6. Contrary to the popular belief the Joker does not hate Batman, shocking ain’t it !
As most of the fan perceive joker as the psycho twisted serial killer, who turns things around in Gotham and given the fact that he is the anti-genesis to our hero Batman. The truth remains that The Joker in his true sense, as the makers of the film have also portrayed, he absolutely loves the company of Batman, and even quotes saying ” Why would I kill you, you complete me” . In fact the Joker feels that he and Batman are alike in many aspects of their lives ! ( Horrific yet so cool )
7. The Actor landed his first role at the age of 10, in a theatre company for Peter Pan
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The actor who was a part of 19 films since the time he came to US in 1998 for his career, had started acting at a very young age. He landed his first role in an appearance of the famous Disney Act Play – Peter Pan.
8. He had his own joker diary for preparing his iconic arch-nemesis of batman
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After his death. speculations went rife in the media when his father revealed that he has maintained an exclusive diary for his role as the joker. The diary had pin ups from various comics and articles about the joker . It was used by him as a tool to prepare for the role. He even wrote Bye Bye on the last page when he completed shooting for the film.
9. He could never witness his “Joker” portrayal on screen
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When the Dark Knight released in the summer of 2008, the audiences and critics went crazy over the performance of Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal of the Joker, but sadly enough the actor could not experience to see his character on screen amongst millions of fans. The movie released in July but the actor was found dead in his apartment in January,2008. Everybody including us could not get enough of his performances in the Dark Knight and he truly immortalised himself and his character although he was no more before the release. ( Applauds for the legendary performer )
10. He died due to drug overdose ( medical prescriptions )
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The actor had already finished shooting for the film – Dark Knight ( 2008 ) a few months back, while the film was yet to be released and in the post production stage, the news of the actor being found dead in his apartment deeply saddened and shocked the world. The reason for his death was found to be the accidental overdose of some medical prescriptions.
11. When Michael Cane saw Heath Ledger for the first time in make-up he forgot his lines
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Well if you think you were the only one who was moved with this ballroom scene, you’re probably wrong. A lot of it went into the performance of the actor ( apparently which was visible on screen ) and he also managed to create and impact off screen. This can be confirmed by the fact that our near perfect actor who plays the role of Alfred ( Michael Cane ) forgot his lines when he saw Heath for the first time with the make-up on. Now that is some astonishing fact !( a true power performance indeed )
12. The Jail scene in which Joker Claps was a result of his intense performance and it was not in the script !
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When the scene in which Inspector Gordon of Gotham city is having a chat with fellow cops who tell the inspector to take rest while he prepares for the big job. The officer even hints that he has been promoted as the commissioner. To this everybody claps and the Joker was supposed to occupy the background as far as the script was concerned. But as to what we remember in the actual film, the actor improvised the scene and he starts to clap thus creating an appalling effect. ( this is how Heath stole the show in this scene ! )
13. The director let the actor improvise the scenes on his own
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Christopher Nolan was not the only one behind the ground breaking characterisation of the horrifying psycho clown who used to kill people for pleasure, the actor had his inputs too. Interestingly the director only choreographed the first few scenes in which the Joker kills people with video messages for Gotham, in the rest of the acts the director left it to the discretion of the actor to do whatever he wanted to ! ( And that did have a lasting impact on the viewers, at-least we think so )
14. His sister liked to dress the young Heath as a nurse in childhood days
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Heath’s diary, as his father was reported giving out some major facts about the actor’s life, had some very shocking revelations and some co-incidental facts too. His father revealed that his sister used to love dressing up as a nurse in their childhood days ! Well that rehearsal did not go waste as one of the major scenes when The Joker evades Harvy Dent’s Hospital room sees him dressed up as a nurse ( oh yes that frightful performance ) , and he later blows up the place. ( Additional Fact : The makers actually did blow up the hospital building, Yes !! For Real )
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We loved The Joker much as we have loved Batman all our childhood. Thanks to the legendary performance of the dedicated and earnest actor – Heath Ledger , he did immortalise The Joker. Even 7 years after his death, he remains alive in the hearts and minds of Batman fans and film critics.
We actually try to pay a small worthy tribute to the legendary actor, who has earned all our respect and affection. Tell us what you think about our column and if you know of some fun facts about the actor or the legendary villain Joker spare your thoughts in the comment box !