Heath Ledger's Joker Diary Is A Haunting Reminder Of His Commitment To The Role
The world went into mourning after news broke of Heath Ledger's tragic death 10 years ago today.
A few months before the Aussie actor passed, he opened up about the onset of sleeplessness because his mind was constantly thinking. He had recently completed the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There and his now infamous role of the Joker for The Dark Knight and admitted was medicating his insomnia with sedatives like Ambien.
Ledger's death was ruled accidental with a toxicology report finding he had oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine in his system.
When a German documentary filmmaker wanted to look into Heath's final months, they came across the diary that he made when creating the Joker.
The diary was shared by Heath's dad, Kim, and reveals the wide array of manic muses Ledger had for his performance, including hyenas, clowns, comic strips and Alex DeLearge from Stanley Kubrick's cult classic, A Clockwork Orange.
While flicking through the diary, Kim confirmed that his son put himself into a self-imposed exile to really delve into the Joker's chilling psyche.
"He pretty well locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He galvanised the upcoming character. That was typical of Heath. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch," Kim said in the documentary.
One of the page of the diary has the words, 'BYE BYE' written in large letters.
Ledger had finished his work for The Dark Knight in October 2007, however the crew was in the process of editing when he died. Director Christopher Nolan said: "It was tremendously emotional, right when he passed, having to go back in and look at him every day.
"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."
Some people claimed that the twisted psyche of the Joker somehow played a role in his death, but that was shut down by his co-star Christian Bale, who recalled Heath saying: "[The Joker was] the most fun I've ever had, or probably ever will have, playing a character."
He was posthumously awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as accolades from the Golden Globes, Australian Film Institute, BAFTA and Los Angeles Film Critics Association for the role.
Sources: New York Times
Featured Image Credit: The Dark Knight/Legendary Pictures