Joker has been one of the most beloved and appreciated villains in the world of comics. Things that make him so special are his character, intelligence, and that deranged persistence to always cause mayhem and anarchy. People also love him because of his intelligence and because no one can ever anticipate his next move. He is a total opposite of a hero, and at the same time, he is the best possible opponent to our favorite hero.
Heath Ledger Actually Wanted To be Batman
Who doesn’t want to be Batman?! And Heath logically auditioned for the role of Batman, however, he ended up getting the role of the “Joker”.
The person that actually decided that Heath would be that best possible person to play the Joker was right. He was so good in that role that he won the Oscar for it.
Heath’s Version of Joker Terrified Michael Caine
Heath Ledger was a “Method Actor”. He actually created the character from scratch, and the character was so convincing on the set that it almost came to life. Michael Caine, one of the most prominent actors in the world claimed to have never seen anyone play this type of a role so convincing. He even described one moment in particular that scared the (beep) out of him.
Because Heath liked to improvise, the entire “party scene” was improvised. Those scared faces of actors and extras you can see were the faces of real genuine fear.
Originally, Joker was not meant to be so grim or scary. That was all Heath! He isolated himself, locked himself in his trailer and didn’t come out until he created his character. He talked to himself like a crazy person, trying to find the true character, voice, and “state of mind”. He even asked for the specific costumes and put on his own makeup. That is why it is always messy and if you look closer, you will see that his fingers are dirty from the face paint. Like I said, he was a true “method actor”.
Heath Was The First Actor To Win Oscar For Playing a Villain
Roles in superhero movies are not meant for Oscars. Those awards usually go to art movies, movies that have something really important to say or to prove. That is why this Oscar award was so unexpected.
Unfortunately, it came after Heath’s tragic death.
Method acting is an expression for actors who have to completely become their characters in order to give a masterful performance. Some actors cat get in and out of any role without using that method.
That method involves a total transformation of an actor. He/ she starts living the life of the character he/she is about to act. They completely adopt the way of living, expressions, habits, and even those psychological elements. Some of those roles leave serious scars on all those actors.
To do this right, Heath locked himself and tried to imagine the state of insanity. That was the only way for him to get into that character. He had to stop and distance himself from that character, because that started affecting all his relationships.
Heath drew his main inspiration from this character from “Clockwork Orange”. This movie was actually the craziest movie of 1970’s.
You can actually see the insanity of that character and Heath had to really try his best for this one. No one could have done it better and it looks like no one will be able to do it better.
He Actually Wanted Christian Bale To Beat Him Up
You see, Heath even wanted to make real fight scenes. He wanted to make everything convincing enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and to simply be the best.
There was a scene in which Batman interrogates the Joker. Heath actually asked Christian Bale to really beat him up to make the scene more authentic.
The Joker’s Journal
It was expected from Heath to do some crazy things on the set. He was known to be very methodical when acting, and he never went out of the character until the last take was finished. However, people did not agree with those extreme things, Heath was ready to do for acting. But, he is the greatest Joker!
Heath actually kept a journal which is full of some pretty crazy stuff. That is why some people think that Heath actually lost a bit of himself because of this role.
The Joker Was a Genius
The psychology of the Joker is not that simple. This character has been developed since 1940’s and it is a quite complicating character. He is a criminal and a villain, but he is not like any other. Every villain has its own agenda and the reasons for his crimes. The Joker is dangerous because he doesn’t have any reason. He is not a criminal because he wants to save his family, earn money, or because of some revenge. He wants to see the world burn! He puts a question mark on our entire existence. He actually tries to prove that everyone is corruptible. He is smart, one of the most intelligent characters in the comic book history, and as such it poses the biggest threat to the Batman. Heath made sure that he played role in that way that all those sides of Joker’s character came to life. He was brilliant in his insanity.
He did want to impose anarchy, but all his actions were planned to the smallest detail.
Heath and His Improvisations
Not many actors can improvise and do that good. But the ones that have that ability take that very seriously. Everything is about talent.
He would keep adding all sorts of lines and reactions in his scenes, and that confused his colleagues. We have already mentioned the “party scene”, but there was one other scene that was perfect and yet, that scene was not in the script. That is the scene in the hospital. Joker only had to arrive at Harvey’s room. There was nothing else in the script. Heath and Aaron (who played Harvey Dent AKA Two-Face) improvised the entire scene and it is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Almost all improvised scenes ended up in the final cut of the movie.
How Did Heath Do His Own Makeup
In one of his interviews, Aaron Eckhart said that he and Heath shared the same trailer. That is where they developed their characters and ultimately put on their makeup. Well, he saw Heath’s makeup artist who was supposed to put all the makeup on Heath’s face. However, Heath refused the services of that makeup artist and decided to put all the makeup by himself.
He didn’t want to make that makeup perfect. He wanted it to have some flaws because he thought that the real Joker wouldn’t have someone painting his face. He was a loner.
Madman on the Set
Everyone got used to Heath’s methodical acting and his skills. But it was difficult to stay calm while he was fully dressed and “in character”.
Heath always stayed in character, he was always trying to look like a madman, even when everybody else tried to stay positive and relaxed.
The Origin of The Scar
The smile on Heath’s face is actually the famous signature of a gang from Glasgow. The group of criminals marked their enemies with that scar.
They would cut the mouth and ears of their opponents so they remember them for the rest of their lives.
The Reaction to the Explosion was Not Scripted
This scene had to be done in one take. The Joker was supposed to get out, push the button, the hospital would explode and he would just continue walking. However, something didn’t go according to the plan, the explosion was delayed for a couple of seconds, and Heath just continued pushing the button.
His reaction after the explosion and him running in the bus was not planned and you can see that by the stranger motion of the camera and him going off the frame for a brief second. That happened because the cameraman didn’t know that he would get on that bus.
The Original Mask
In one of the first scenes, you could see the joker wearing some mask. That was during the bank robbery scene.
That was not a coincidence. That mask was chosen very carefully, and that is the original mask, Romero was wearing during the 1960’s series.
The Impact of His Death
Heath Ledger died on 22 January 2008, and the premiere of “The Dark Knight” was scheduled for July 14, 2008. That means that Heath died right after shooting this movie. There have been numerous insinuations and open claims that Heath actually died because of the role of the Joker. Some say that the role of the Joker led him to depression. However, those claims were dismissed by his sister in the documentary about his life.
She said that Heath saw the humor in everything and that the role of the Joker was a gag for him.