When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. Realizing that they were movies he himself might not actually have wanted to see, it made him more cautious and respectful towards his professional choices. , The interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker was the first scene shot with Ledger really showing the full performance altogether. He was played by late Australian actor Heath Ledger. English, USA. Batman saves Dent, who is disfigured in the explosion, but Rachel is killed. And I just instantly had an idea of how to do it. , The character's mannerisms carry a quality of unpredictability. American Batman writers Paul Dini and Jeph Loeb both chimed with the positive reactions. MMTDK-01: The Joker, from the Christopher Nolan directed Batman masterpiece: The Dark Knight (2008).  Entertainment Weekly put the film on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Every great hero needs a great villain. The actor was found dead … The Joker rigs explosives on two ferries leaving the Gotham bay, one containing citizens and the other transporting criminals, and tells the passengers that he will destroy both boats unless one blows up the other by midnight. "And no matter how banged-up or bruised Heath was after a long day, after we'd take off the last drop of makeup, he'd just hug everybody in the trailer before he left". Denby called Ledger "mesmerising" and said, "His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss. ", "Everyone Was Also Furious with the Initial Casting of Heath Ledger As The Joker", "Del Toro's, Dini's and Loeb's Reaction to Heath Ledger's Joker", "Slumdog Millionaire wins Oscar for Best Picture; the late Heath Ledger is Best Supporting Actor", "Golden Globes 2009: Heath Ledger wins best supporting actor for The Dark Knight", "PGA and SAG Bow to Peer Pressure, Name Slumdog Millionaire Best Picture", "Heath Ledger honoured by Australian film industry", "The critics' verdict on Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight", "Movie News: Ledger's Knight Costars Call for Posthumous Oscar", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joker_(The_Dark_Knight)&oldid=995019187, Pages using citations with format and no URL, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 19:40. His shoes have an upward swoop at the toe, reminiscent of clown shoes. She tried to present a backstory for the character "that he really doesn't look after himself". He tricks four of them into killing each other, then kills the last one himself and escapes with the money. The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of the Dark Knight Trilogy, 2013. Or perhaps he had escaped. Hugo Stange? The Joker kills Lau and the Chechen, burns his half of the mob's money and takes over the Chechen's gang. Time: 00:51:20. By Spencer Perry - December 10, ... appearing as one of the main players during one of The Joker… Loeb, who had been critical of Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker in 1989's Batman, expressed his excitement for Ledger's interpretation, saying the casting felt "just about right. Caglione called the application work "a dance". Gordon shows Batman a joker playing card left at the crime scene. His face is covered in a cracked and runny layer of white clown makeup, with his sunken eyes thickly rimmed in black. He's laughing red and black and red and black till there's nothing left to laugh. " "It's just one of the most iconic movie performances of modern times", declared chief film critic of Variety Scott Foundas. A psychopathic criminal mastermind and mass murderer with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the Joker is hired by Gotham City's mob bosses to kill the vigilante Batman (Christian Bale), and also comes into conflict with Batman's allies, Gotham police officer James Gordon (Gary Oldman) … You can almost imagine what he smells like. During rehearsals, the actors kept things loose and improvisational, saving for the actual shoot. His work comprised nineteen films, including. The Joker gloats that he has won "the battle for Gotham's soul", as the city's inhabitants will lose hope once Dent's rampage as the murderous vigilante "Two-Face" becomes known. " In his 2016 book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, NPR contributor Glen Weldon recalled that fans were outraged over the choice of Ledger, due to his past roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain (2005). The Joker embodies themes of chaos, anarchy and obsession: throughout the film, he expresses a desire to upset the social order in Gotham through crime, and defines himself by his conflict with Batman.  "Heath was just ready to do it, he was ready to do something that big. Image Source : HEATH LEDGER/ INSTAGRAM For the unversed, The Dark Knight grossed over $1 billion at the box office with Heath Ledger bagging Best Supporting Actor Oscar posthumously. After learning that Batman has captured Lau, Maroni and the Chechen accept the Joker's offer. , The first sequence shot was the film's IMAX opening, the "prologue". Later, the Joker kills Gambol and takes over his gang. The cast and creators of "The Stand" sound off on their Stephen King adaptation and its serious 2020 vibes.  The casting decision surprised some and was seen as a controversial move at the time, receiving notable negative reactions on the Internet.  Nolan explained Ledger's early and "peculiar" ambition for the voice of the character, saying that the actor had studied the way ventriloquist dummies talk. I just do things.  Highlighting the opportunity for freshness, Ledger aimed for a new and different interpretation of the character, separate from previous film incarnations. , Heath Ledger always showed up early onset.  Based on philosophical ideas of anarchy and chaos, they looked at art by Francis Bacon for visual reference and they talked about Malcolm McDowell's performance as Alex in Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, and who Alex is in Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name. , However, with the first trailer released in 2007, the film and its portrayal of the Joker received very positive response from audiences and entertainment industry professionals alike. The Joker? , Ledger developed the Joker's voice and mannerisms slowly over time and during camera tests. ", Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker received widespread critical acclaim, winning numerous posthumous awards for his performance, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, and a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards.  Nolan remembered the cynicism he endured surrounding Ledger's casting, saying that "the whole world turned around and said 'What are you doing?' , On 22 January 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Ledger died, aged 28, of an accidental prescription drug overdose, leading to intense press attention and memorial tributes. He was played by late Australian actor Heath Ledger. Nope, the only actors who were scared and petrified of Heath Ledger as Joker were Michael Caine (Alfred) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel). I am a dog chasing cars… I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. The Joker is a fictional character who appears in Christopher Nolan's 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight, based upon the DC Comics character and supervillain of the same name. And in 2008, Christian Bale's Batman found his in Heath Ledger's demented dervish, the Joker. One of the greatest tragedies to strike previously was the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in The Dark Knight. ", "Heath Ledger Discusses Delving into Dylan For I'm Not There and Channeling Sid Vicious for the Dark Knight", "Writer/Director Christopher Nolan Talks About 'The Dark Knight, "A look inside Heath Ledger's sinister Joker journal", "Arkham Asylum Scribe Grant Morrison Opens Up on Heath Ledger's Joker Diary", "Giving Voice to the Villain Presents Quite the Acting Challenge", "Writer/Director Christopher Nolan Talks About 'The Dark Knight' And Heath Ledger's Incredible Performance", "Indy, Batman, Narnia All Return in 2008", "Making the Joker: Heath Ledger and Jared Leto's Makeup Artists on the Job of a Lifetime", "5 Stories You've Never Heard Before About Heath Ledger As The Joker", "Christopher Nolan revisits his favorite scene in Dark Knight", "Nolan Talks DARK KNIGHT Blu-Ray, a 100,000 Person Screening of the Film (Featuring Live Q & A w/ Nolan), TDK Sequel, and More!! The Joker then escapes the police station with Lau.  David Denby of The New Yorker, otherwise critical of the film, praised Ledger's "sinister and frightening" performance, which he says is the film's one element of success. While test recording without sound, he shared his take on the Joker's voice and physicality, and "in that way he sort of sneaked upon it".. Between takes, Ledger would stay in costume and makeup just being himself. The Joker was portrayed by the late Heath Ledger as the main antagonist of The Dark Knight, a role that won him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro gushed of his impression for Ledger's performance, finding it "really, really edgy and scary".  She gave the image for the Joker of someone who is "very sweaty" and who "probably doesn't have a proper home".  The 2005 fantasy film The Brothers Grimm marked a turning point for the actor as director Terry Gilliam gave Ledger (and his co-star, Matt Damon) opportunities to create characters they had not been given before. In addition, largely due to that incarnation's popularity that regarded his very dark nature, several later incarnations of the Joker were depicted in a similarly dark manner. When Gotham's district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), attempts to draw him out by identifying himself as Batman, the Joker tries to kidnap him, only to be arrested and interrogated by Batman after Dent goes missing. 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This corruption, this decay in the texture of the look itself. , Film critics, co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Caine, and many of Ledger's colleagues in the film community joined Bale in calling for and predicting a nomination for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight. The Joker reveals that Dent's girlfriend (and Bruce Wayne's childhood sweetheart) Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has also gone missing and divulges their separate locations, both rigged with time bombs, but lies about which location each hostage is held at. According to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, Ledger had talked with him about Johnny Depp's off-kilter portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in relation to The Dark Knight, aiming to make a performance that would be "so far out he'd be fired". After playing roles in several Australian television and film productions during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to further develop his film career. He then blows up the hospital and takes a busload of hostages. Ledger's interpretation of the Joker is specifically influenced by the graphic novels Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. , On 31 July 2006, The Dark Knight was officially announced by Warner Bros with the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker. Nolan was impressed enough with the first video shoot that he chose to not be present when Ledger shot the video with a kidnapped reporter (Anthony Michael Hall). , "I can only speak superlatives of Ledger, who is mad-crazy-brilliant as the Joker", wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, stating that the film is deeper than its predecessor, with a "deft" script that refuses to scrutinize the Joker with popular psychology. , Heath Ledger described the Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy". Furthermore, it contains a list of things the Joker would find funny, such as AIDS, landmines, and geniuses suffering brain damage. Wearing the character's traditional color palette, the Joker is dressed in a light purple shirt, a thin medium toned purple tie and a green waistcoat, topped by a dark purple overcoat. The Dark Knight: 5 Actors Considered To Play The Joker (& 5 For Harvey Dent) It's hard to imagine anyone but Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart playing the Joker and Two-Face, respectively. The Joker then laughs hysterically as he is arrested by a SWAT team. (The Dark Knight is a kid when “Joker” takes place, so Arthur meeting young Bruce Wayne involves a red clown nose rather than a Batarang.) , – Scrawlings from Heath Ledger's Joker diary, During a span of six weeks, Ledger "locked" himself away in a hotel room, forming a character diary and experimenting with voices. "But the truth is, I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish. The Joker first appears in person at the beginning of The Dark Knight, as part of a six-member gang wearing clown masks who rob a mob-owned bank. This technique created facial textures for white paint. The Joker's hair is stringy, unkempt, and dyed green. The Joker is not mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises, the 2012 sequel to The Dark Knight, out of respect for Ledger's memory.  Travers praised the cast, saying each brings his or her "'A' game" to the film. It is a towering performance.  Travers said Ledger moves the Joker away from Jack Nicholson's interpretation into darker territory, and expressed his support for any potential campaign to have Ledger nominated for an Academy Award. Nolan noted, "We gave a Francis Bacon spin to [his face]. Jay Yaws-December 15, 2020. ", "Heath Ledger's Creepy Joker Diary Revealed", "Dark Knight Director Shuns Digital Effects for the Real Thing", "Batman's Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death", "Production Suspended on Heath Ledger's Latest Movie", "Ledger's Death Puts Last Films in a Bind", "Robin Williams' Batman Near Misses! This is the definitive Joker", calling the performance "a masterpiece". He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. " Emanuel Levy wrote Ledger "throws himself completely" into the role.  It was revealed that Ledger had read Grant Morrison's writing of The Clown at Midnight (Batman #663) and based the list upon the Batman writer's prose. , Steve Alexander, Heath Ledger's agent, said the actor had a "pay-or-play" deal on The Dark Knight, "so he felt free to do whatever he wanted to do as the Joker, no matter how crazy." The Joker is a fictional character who appears in Christopher Nolan's 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight, based upon the DC Comics character and supervillain of the same name.  Film critic Peter Travers wrote about the Joker as having "the grungy hair and the yellowing teeth of a hound fresh out of hell". However, Nolan kept him on his list, and was his first option when casting the Joker for The Dark Knight. A psychopathic criminal mastermind and mass murderer with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the Joker is hired by Gotham City's mob bosses to kill the vigilante Batman (Christian Bale), and also comes into conflict with Batman's allies, Gotham police officer James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart).  Heath Ledger was cast before there was a script. The stunt actor was knocked out three times, and narrowly avoided a pencil to the eyeball Warner Bros., Blu-Ray DVD. The Joker utters many memorable quotes in the film. Each take Ledger made was different from the last. (Warner Bros.) Also released in 2008, the war thriller “The Hurt Locker” saw Bigelow win the Oscar for Best Director. Until, almost tenderly, he turns inside out through his mouth. Michael Caine (Alfred) forgot his lines while Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel) couldn't look straight into his eyes in that scene where Joker is asking whereabouts of Harvey Dent at the party. Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight” Heath Ledger as the Joker ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett C It was Heath Ledger’s 2008 performance that first brought the Joker from part to art. No one was more surprised by the demise of Gambol in The Dark Knight than actor Michael Jai White, who played the menacing gangster.  Gilliam helped Ledger put on a clown act for that film, an experience the actor later acknowledged as an influence for his performance as the Joker. The first thing he would do, according to Caglione, was to give bear hugs to cast and crew members around the set. , —Heath Ledger on why he preferred playing the super-villain. , As a starting actor, Heath Ledger did not attach himself seriously to the roles he was playing. Nolan acknowledges this unpredictability to be part of the character's slinky physical movements as well, saying that Ledger's performance "[is] always a surprise".  Impressed with Ledger's determination, Nolan cast him in the part. During the ensuing panic, the Joker sneaks into Gotham General Hospital disguised as a nurse to meet with Dent and persuades him to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for Rachel's death. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. I eagerly anticipate more! The Dark Knight actor recalls how he could have died during the Joker's pencil trick.  At the end of shooting, on his Joker diary's final page, Ledger wrote "BYE BYE". While meeting for the part of Batman in Batman Begins, Ledger explained that he was not interested in working on such a film. , Main antagonist of the 2008 film The Dark Knight. Batman subsequently apprehends the Joker, who states that he believes that they are meant to fight each other forever. When the film was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died from an accidental overdose, the performance received universal acclaim and numerous posthumous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. ", "The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger Talks Joker", "A look at how Heath Ledger viewed his career, "Christopher Nolan Reflects on His Batman Trilogy, Heath Ledger & More", "Christopher Nolan Spends the 'Knight' at Lincoln Center: 5 Things Learned About Batman and Beyond", "Movies: In Stetson or Wig, He's Hard to Pin Down", "IESB Exclusive: Heath Ledger Talks the Joker! However, the novelization of the film makes an ambiguous reference to the character while describing Blackgate Prison: Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible to cop an insanity plea, it had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. 79 wins & 60 nominations. Interrupting a videoconference between mob bosses Sal Maroni (Eric Roberts), the Chechen (Ritchie Coster) and Gambol (Michael Jai White) with their accountant Lau (Chin Han), he offers to kill Batman for half of the mob's money. Then, water was sprayed over the eyes and the actor would squeeze his eyes and shake his head to create imperfections in the makeup. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, "Heath Ledger's Joker inspired by Tom Waits? Joker's Henchman (uncredited) Tommy Bartlett ... Maroni's D.A. John Caglione described Ledger as helping others around to relax, never letting "the intense nature of the roles overwhelm him". ... A force of nature". Friday and The Dark Knight Actor Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Dead at 62. No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month. Heath Andrew Ledger (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008) was an Australian actor, photographer, and music video director. Ledger's Joker also explores techniques found in the actor's previous performances, including his clown act in Terry Gilliam's fantasy film The Brothers Grimm, while also referencing paintings by artist Francis Bacon, Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, and various punk rock musicians, as well as a vocal style rumoured to be influenced by Tom Waits.. The physicality reminds me of the great silent comedians. " Mark Lee, writing for The Daily Telegraph, commented that Ledger accomplished "a genuinely unsettling, brilliant nuanced portrait of evil". Total Film reviewed that Ledger is "burning brightly as he embodies an icon. The actor would goof around, skateboarding while in his Joker costume on set, and smoking cigarettes. The filmmaker also acknowledged that the voice performance was based on the Alexander technique. You know, Heath Ledger, Joker, didn't make any sense to people at all. Gambol refuses the offer and puts a bounty on the "clown". Tim Teeman commented for The Times that "Ledger is so terrifying and unpredictable that his very presence on screen makes you nervous." " All of Ledger's scenes appear as he completed them in the filming; in editing the film, Nolan added no digital effects to alter Ledger's actual performance posthumously. It's hard to get a handle on how those elements combine. The Joker gets a new solo series beginning in March 2021. His voice frequently shifts in pitch, so that he speaks his dialogue hitting higher notes, followed by an immediate lower voice capable of landing two octaves below. Here we've … "Everything about what he does from every gesture, every little facial tick, everything he's doing with his voice—it all speaks to the heart of this character. A sloppy red grin is painted across his mouth and cheeks, partly obscuring the scars of a Glasgow smile. For The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt called Ledger's performance "a beauty". Of course, Ledger’s Joker performance in The Dark Knight was just as lauded as the one Phoenix gave in Joker, as it earned him the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2009 Academy Awards. Ledger's casting as the Joker was initially controversial but it is now considered his finest performance; Ledger himself regarded it as his most enjoyable. Just like with James Bond, or even Batman himself, it’s no small news when an actor signs on to play the infamous Dark Knight nemesis. Having shot … The Batman: 10 Actors Who Could Play The Joker For Matt Reeves.  Kevin Smith commented on Ledger, calling his "incredible" performance among "the most frightening, smart and well-played villains ever. You know what I am, Harvey? " Costume designer Lindy Hemming picked inspiration for the "chaotic" look from such countercultural pop culture artists as Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, and Sid Vicious. It also earned him a posthumous Oscar nomination, one of 15 nominations the Batman films have received over the years.  In an interview with MTV, Ledger said he regarded the experience playing the Joker as the most fun he ever had, "and probably will ever have". More than just a story of good versus evil, The Dark Knight was a film that shattered the box office in 2008, telling the gripping tale of the struggle between Batman and best supporting actor Heath Ledger as the Joker. Heath Ledger turned down playing the … "It's a combination of reading all the comic books I could that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it", he said about his process. ", Ledger was allowed to shoot and direct the threat videos the Joker sends out as warnings. I am  The actor reflected on his problems with portraying superheroes, saying; "I would just feel stupid and silly. I feel like this is an opportunity for me to not take myself too seriously, and for some reason, I just gravitated towards [The Joker] and I knew I had something to give to him. Christopher Hooton, writing for The Independent, said that the 'Joker journal' had several stills from Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, joker cards, photos of hyenas, unhinged clown makeup and the word "chaos" highlighted in green. , Ledger highlighted the importance of finding an iconic voice and laugh for the character, relating the voice as "the key to the demented killer". 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