Heath Ledger

June 01, 2013 | 5:04 p.m.

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

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 […]
Aug. 01, 2012 | 7:32 p.m.

The Joker returns to ‘Batman’ pages, building on 72-year history

(Warner Bros., DC Comics, ABC, Warner Bros.)
The most famous supervillain in comic book history — the Joker –  returns to the pages of “Batman” in a big way later this year, DC Comics has announced on its website. The new story, “Death of the Family,” which begins in October with issue No. 13 of “Batman,” was planned long before the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. The timing of the Joker’s return to the pages of the bestselling DC comic may discomfit some in the wake of the shooting during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Suspect James E. Holmes reportedly referred to himself as the Joker during questioning by police. Representatives of DC Comics did not respond to questions about the timing of the Joker’s return to the Batman story line. DC Comics has more or less kept the Joker on a shelf in recent […]
July 19, 2012 | 7:15 a.m.

‘Dark Knight Rises’ primer: Going back to Gotham? Read our recap first

Batman is forced to question his own moral code and reckon with how far he’ll go to stop someone as deranged as the Joker. He finally apprehends the villain, only to learn that a now-unhinged Dent is on a killing spree in retaliation for Dawes’ murder. The situation culminates in a standoff involving Batman, Dent, Gordon and his young son, and ends in Dent’s death. (Photo credit: Warner Bros)
When director Christopher Nolan brought Batman out of the shadows seven years ago in “Batman Begins” and carried on the character’s adventures in “The Dark Knight,” he produced a hero and setting appropriate for the times: a grim, hard-nosed loner in a world racked by corruption, shaken by terrorism and standing on shaky moral ground. With the concluding chapter “The Dark Knight Rises” poised to plunge into blackness once again, here’s a refresher on what brought us to the brink: CLICK THROUGH THE PHOTO GALLERY ABOVE TO REVISIT KEY CHARACTERS AND EVENTS.  BE SURE THE “CAPTIONS ON” OPTION IS ACTIVATED. (And if you haven’t seen either film, just an obvious warning that spoilers lie ahead.) – Oliver Gettell RECENT AND RELATED Christopher Nolan opens up about Bane choice Christian Bale says goodbye to Gotham ‘DKR’: Where to see the IMAX […]
Nov. 27, 2011 | 8:03 p.m.

Terry Gilliam, the heir of Fellini and the enemy of God?

Terry Gilliam (featured image)
The late Ted Demme once approached Terry Gilliam and asked for the secret of his cinema sorcery. Demme wanted to know how the director of “Brazil,” “Twelve Monkeys” and “The Fisher King” approached those magical transition moments in his movies where reality lurches and gives way to fantasy swirl and fever dream. The elder director, with a toothy grin, explained that he just wasn’t qualified to answer because, well, he wouldn’t know reality if he saw it. “I never quite understand what the real world is,” Gilliam said during a recent visit to Los Angeles. “I told Ted I shoot reality and fantasy the same way because it’s all the same to me. I don’t know how to distinguish between the two, they flow into each other all the time. That’s the autobiographical part in my movies…in Hollywood, everyone takes characters and puts them into action sequences […]
May 22, 2009 | 6:00 p.m.

Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell try to fill a void left by Heath Ledger

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, reporting from Cannes, has a wonderful piece about Terry Gilliam and his new film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,”  which Heath Ledger was still working on at the time of his death… Terry Gilliam went to the movies the other night, and this is what he saw: “Trailers from ‘Transformers,’ ‘ G.I. Joe,’ ‘ Harry Potter’; they all had the same explosions, the same sound mix, the same rhythms, it was all the same film,” the director says, still not quite believing it. “Hollywood’s been doing this for 20 years. When’s it going to end?” It ends right here and now at Cannes’ Festival du Film, where Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” a work as exceptional and unusual as its title, premieres out of competition today. A tale of good and evil battling for souls […]
March 08, 2009 | 6:36 p.m.

Heath Ledger’s Oscar will not go to his parents after all

Tom O’Neil over at Gold Derby, the blog devoted to tracking all of Hollywood’s trophy shows, has an update on the status of the Oscar statuette won posthumously by Heath Ledger for his searing performance in "The Dark Knight." Here’s an excerpt from the post that went up Thursday: [Heath's father] Kim Ledger told reporters at LAX that he had no plan to give Matilda the Oscar statuette anytime soon. "We’ll keep it for her forever!" he said. Will he ever give it to Matilda? "Oh, yeah, down the line," he replied. Had he forgotten the deal he made with the academy due to jet lag? Or was the Ledger family planning to chuck all that, keep the Oscar after the ceremony and head back to Perth, Australia, with it? The matter finally has been resolved — quite differently from […]
Feb. 12, 2009 | 4:49 a.m.

Heath Ledger and his ‘gentle way’ remembered

Michael Ordoña has a great piece today in the Los Angeles Times on Heath Ledger, who should (and, I think, will) win a posthumous Oscar for his searing performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Here’s an excerpt: It was far from the first time he had transformed himself for a role, whether drastically, as the scruffy skateboarding impresario in “Lords of Dogtown,” or subtly, as the repressed, gay cowboy in “Brokeback Mountain.” Here, the recollections of some who worked with the supporting actor nominee add detail to a picture of a complex man and challenging artist whose creative fire and generosity of spirit lifted those around him. “His energy and enthusiasm for life will never cease to inspire me,” said Ledger’s longtime friend and business partner Matt Amato. “A friend of mine said after Heath died […]
Jan. 22, 2009 | 8:30 p.m.

‘The Dark Knight’ snubbed in best picture race

UPDATED: Here’s a story I have appearing in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times tomorrow: There are always a lot of emotions on Oscar nomination day, but there was an especially bittersweet surge on Thursday when the late Heath Ledger’s name was called out in the category of best supporting actor for his portrayal of the maniacal Joker in "The Dark Knight" — it was, after all, one year to the day after his death. Even as the team behind the Warner Bros. film embraced the posthumous honor for Ledger, they also dealt with the disappointment that the acclaimed blockbuster was left out of the best picture race. No superhero movie has come close to the marquee category in the past, but Warner Bros. had high hopes that "Dark Knight" could follow in the footsteps of "Star Wars," […]
Jan. 22, 2009 | 3:24 p.m.

But can Heath Ledger WIN the Oscar?

There are always a lot of emotions on Oscar nomination day but there was an especially bittersweet surge in sentiment this morning when the late Heath Ledger’s name was called out in the category of best supporting actor — one year to the day after his death. The nomination for Ledger’s scorching performance as the scabby and diabolical Joker in "The Dark Knight"; had been considered a certainty in recent months but there was still a collective sigh when it was announced. Now the question is, ‘Can he win?‘ There has been a posthumous actor winner in the past — Peter Finch’s widow Eletha Finch memorably accepted his best-actor Oscar for the unforgettable 1976 film "Network" — but Finch died a month after he was nominated. Ledger’s accidental prescription-drug overdose hasn’t lost any of its tragedy, of course, but the […]
Jan. 14, 2009 | 2:32 a.m.

‘Watchmen,’ ‘Fringe,’ Heath Ledger all in Everyday Hero headlines

Welcome to today’s edition of Everyday Hero, your roundup of handpicked headlines from across the fanboy universe…. WHAT PRICE WILL BE PAID?: The nasty legal squabble over “Watchmen” is winding down but what’s the bottom line for Warner Bros.? Reporter John Horn gets into the nitty gritty and finds that Larry Gordon, the colorful producer who brought landmark action films such as “48 Hrs.,” “Die Hard” and “Predator” to the screen, may get stuck with part of the sizable bill in the property dispute: “The court fight over ‘Watchmen’ is costing Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the biggest bill of all could fall to the film’s producer, Larry Gordon, his lawyers and their insurers, who could be on the hook for substantially more money. Court documents in the nearly yearlong […]
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