Heath Ledger Joker diary offers fascinating look at ‘Dark Knight’ role

June 01, 2013 | 5:04 p.m.
Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of a stripped-down version of the character in "The Dark Knight" (2008) who is uninterested in profit or power -- he's a scabby post-punk jackal, an agent of chaos who wants to watch the world burn. (Warner Bros.)

Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his performance in “The Dark Knight” (2008). (Warner Bros.)

The diary Heath Ledger kept during the production of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed 2008 film “The Dark Knight” is the subject of a new clip from the documentary “Too Young to Die” making the rounds online.

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.

Ledger’s death at age 28, months before the film’s release, didn’t dim the power of his performance — for many, Ledger’s twitchy, anarchic Joker remains the standard by which all other comic book villains are measured.

He was awarded a posthumous Oscar for “The Dark Knight,” which was accepted by Ledger’s father; his mother, Sally Bell; and his sister Kate Ledger. (Only one other actor ever has been posthumously honored with an Academy Award: Peter Finch for “Network” in 1977.)

Ledger also received a posthumous honor at the Golden Globes ceremony in 2009, a prize Nolan accepted on the actor’s behalf.

“With the extraordinary response to his work that we’ve seen all over the world, I, for one, start to be able to look a bit less at that gap in the future and a little bit more at the incredible place in the history of cinema that he built for himself with his talent and with his dedication to his artistry,” Nolan said in his speech.

— Gina McIntyre

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6 Responses to Heath Ledger Joker diary offers fascinating look at ‘Dark Knight’ role

  1. Sophie says:

    I admit that I am quite cynical when it comes to Hollywood (ie, overrated), but I think Heath Ledger's performance is iconic. One of the few times I've been blown away watching a film. He really deserved that Oscar.

  2. joe luczyk says:

    His performance as the joker will go down as one of the best villians in any type of movie genre. He seemed to almost become the joker, not acted as. It was mind blowing the first time I saw the movie and still gives me chills every time I watch it.

  3. joanna says:

    Very interesting and certianly opens your eyes to just how much of a wonderful method actor he was and immersed himself into the role. But surely you could have found an english verison of this clip?

  4. r.i.p i need to re-watch that movie now.

  5. Richard Egan says:

    Heath's performance made a side kick out of Batman.

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