Heath Ledger had a legendary performance in The Dark Knight. The second he came on the screen, you were hooked and couldn’t look away. He drew you in like a magnet and fired off in unpredictable ways. He was made to play that version of The Joker. And 10 years ago, almost to the day, we were forced to say goodbye to an extraordinary talent. Now, the man behind the lens capturing his performance recalls that time.
In speaking with BBC One, they went over the highlights of Christopher Nolan‘s career. From influencing pop culture to casting pop singer Harry Styles in Dunkirk. But they start right out of the gate talking about The Dark Knight trilogy. The trilogy has become some of the most beloved films for fans of Batman. And part of that has much to do with Ledger’s performance as The Joker. Nolan recalled Ledger not telling him much about what he was going to do, but tested the waters a bit.
He would sort of give me hints about what he was going to do. We would talk about it a bit. And I would try and be an audience for him and sort of engage with him, what he was doing. But a lot of it was about unpredictability, and I think he wanted to play his cards close to the chest. He would very gradually reveal to me the ‘voice’ and the way he was going to do things – but not in one go, like, ‘Here’s the Joker.
From there, there would be a level of fear on set. They could never predict what he was gonna do. And not so much casting pranks as it was improvisation, such as his clap when Jim Gordon gets promoted.
We watched him sort of develop it, with the wardrobe and the makeup, and I kind of got to be a part of that creative process, which was great fun, but on-set, there were always moments like that clapping or things he would do with his voice. His voice was so unpredictable. He created this bizarre pitch. I’ve seen a lot of people try and imitate it since. But we never quite knew if he was going to go high or if he was going to go low. You never knew what that guy was going to do, and that’s what was terrifying about him.
And with that terror he brought magic to the screen. A performance that brought a nomination and win. Nolan was asked about how he felt when Ledger won the Academy Award posthumously.
I took huge pride in having been in any way involved with this great performer and his legacy. He was an extraordinary person and an extraordinary actor. And for him to be recognized in that way, I think, was very meaningful for his family and meaningful, I think, for film history. 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 it.
It is still a massive shame that he is not here with us today. But he left us many performances that will sit with us for as long as we’re here. And for those wanting a bit more, you can hear Nolan talk more on masking Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy along with things he’s taken from set.
You can check out the full video below and let us know what you think. Tell us which Christopher Nolan film is your favorite and be sure to come back to Geek Girl Authority for more geeky news.
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