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Interesting Reason Why Joker Constantly Licks His Lips In The Dark Knight

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

Interesting Reason Why Joker Constantly Licks His Lips In The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker is a role that would go down in history, after the actor pushed himself to the limit for the award-winning performance in 2008's The Dark Knight. But it transpires that one of the character's most iconic trademarks is actually all down to a bit of luck - as there's an unexpected reason for his constant lip-licking.


The actor passed away in 2008 at the age of 28, but made a posthumous appearance in Christopher Nolan's Batman flick later that year, later winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Ledger's Joker has since been seen as the best of all time, beating the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill in a recent LADbible poll.

Amazingly, however, one of the character's signatures traits actually came about by fluke.

In a recent TikTok video, movie fan Allen Tsai (@imallentsai) explained: "Did you know that in The Dark Knight, the reason the Joker constantly licks his lips is actually because of the prosthetic scars on Heath Ledger's face?

"They kept falling off whenever he'd speak, so Heath would lick his lips to keep them in place.

"Eventually he made this tic a part of the Joker's character."

Credit: Warner Bros
Credit: Warner Bros

According to Entertainment Weekly, this nifty bit of intel comes from the documentary I Am Heath Ledger, which was released in 2017.

In the doc, we hear how the prosthetics used for the Joker's trademark scars kept coming loose, which meant Ledger had to do what he could to keep them on his face while filming.

Entertainment Weekly reported that 'in an effort to avoid revisiting the makeup chair multiple times a day, Ledger would lick his lips to prevent them from cracking'.

It added: "This soon became a character trait."

Ledger was known to go all-out physically, having even encouraged co-star Christian Bale - who played Batman - to actually hit him during an interrogation scene.

Credit: Warner Bros
Credit: Warner Bros

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, Bale recalled: "As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realises that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I'm giving him satisfaction.

"Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on.

"I was saying, 'You know what, I really don't need to actually hit you. It's going to look just as good if I don't.' And he's going, 'Go on. Go on. Go on....'

"He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total."

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Joker

Jess Hardiman
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