The Dark Knight is reaching a new milestone this year, turning ten years old while still being considered one of the greatest superhero films of all time. A sadder anniversary came today, however, as Heath Ledger tragically passed away on this day in 2008. Ledger’s Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan took some time to reflect on his iconic Joker performance and just how much Ledger brought to the role outside of the script.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1, Nolan says Ledger would bounce some ideas off of the director, but the actor kept a lot of his ideas to himself until it was time to film, like the Joker’s slow cap in the prison cell:
“Oh yeah, very much. A lot of what Heath did, he would discuss with me, but in terms—he’d give me hints about what he was going to do, or we would talk about it a bit, and I would try and be an audience for him or sort of gauge with him what he was doing. But a lot of it was about unpredictability, and I think he wanted to play his cards a little close to the chest.”
Ledger’s voice as the Joker is still memorable to this day, and Nolan details that the actor didn’t just show up to set with the voice figured out, but that it was a developing, unpredictable process:
“His voice was so unpredictable. He created this bizarre pitch. I’ve seen a lot of people try to imitate it since. You never quite knew whether he was going to go high or whether he was going to go low; you never knew what that guy was going to do, and that was what was terrifying about it.”
Ledger’s performance was so well received, he posthumously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2009, a first for a performance in the superhero genre. Nolan believes the award was well deserved and even calls it a major moment in film history:
“I took huge pride in having been in any way involved with this great performance, this legacy. He was an extraordinary person and an extraordinary actor. And for him to be recognized in that way, I think, it was very meaningful for his family and meaningful, I think, for film history that what he contributed—and he contributed in many different ways to film history—but that it be marked in that way, I was very proud to be a part of that.”
Ten years later, and Heath Ledger’s Dark Knight performance is still considered one of the best villains ever put to screen, a rare feat in an age where weak villains are a common complaint levied against superhero films.
Do you believe Heath Ledger’s Joker still holds up, ten years later? Are there other villain performances you think surpassed Ledger’s, or is he at the top? Let us know in the comments!
Source: BBC Radio 1
Top 7 Joker Performances From TV & Movies Ranked
The Joker is one of the most popular villains in fiction. As a result of that, he has been featured in multiple movies, TV shows and video games. Fortunately, he’s a character who can be molded to fit his environment. He’s equally at home in The LEGO Batman Movie getting his feelings hurt as he is pushing Superman to the brink in the Injustice video game franchise.
One question persists through all those adaptations: who plays Joker best?
For all you Suicide Squad fans out there wondering why Jared Leto isn’t on the list, don’t worry I got an answer for you. I didn’t like him! Man oh man, I thought he was terrible honestly. Laughable in the wrong sense of the word. Perhaps some of the cut scenes might have changed my mind, but from what I saw I wasn’t left wanting more.
Do you think I’m wrong? Should Leto or someone else have made the list? Sound off in the comment section and let me know!
But for now, take some laughing gas and hit Next to find out who the best Jokers are!