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Is This The Interview That Inspired Heath Ledger's Portrayal Of Joker?

Jake Massey

| Last updated 

Is This The Interview That Inspired Heath Ledger's Portrayal Of Joker?

Heath Ledger received global recognition and critical acclaim for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight .

He died during the production of the film in 2008, but was posthumously awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In order to effectively convey the disturbed psyche of the character, Ledger prepared extensively, even exiling himself from social interactions in order to develop a disturbing mindset.


In the documentary, Too Young To Die, Heath's dad, Kim, said: "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."

Ledger's depiction was extremely nuanced, characterised by peculiar twitches, sadistic cackles and a gravelly voice. However, rumours soon began to circulate online suggesting that Ledger didn't dream up these quirks while locked away, and was in fact inspired by a 1979 interview with crooner Tom Waits.


While this theory may seem ludicrous on the surface, the interview may seem oddly familiar to those who watched the Christopher Nolan Batman film.

The pair both appeared in 2009 film, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, but it unclear whether or not they actually met.

Also, the video wasn't actually shared on YouTube until after Ledger's death, meaning he would have had to have found the interview and subsequent inspiration through an obscure medium.


It's also worth noting that while the voices are undeniably similar, and even the posture to an extent, there was a lot more to Ledger's depiction than just this. The piles of awards he received were in recognition of the eerie way he gripped viewers with all facets of his performance, rather than simply acknowledgement of a good Tom Waits impression.

Footage recently emerged of Joaquin Phoenix playing the Joker in the film, The Joker, which is due for release in October 2019.

Warner Bros has described it as 'an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale' and, along with Phoenix in the title role, it will also feature Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler and Marc Maron.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: TV and Film, Joker, US Entertainment, Batman

Jake Massey
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